Hit the back of the net: Why setting long term goals are more beneficial than short term goals

Posted by Jackie Wren on 5th September 2018

Goal setting is a fantastic way to help you achieve your optimum fitness and can be the key to succeeding. In my work as a personal trainer and wellbeing coach, I have found goal setting to be one of the most rewarding ways I can motivate my clients. They can see and feel the difference; a specific goal gives them something clear to aim for and is easily measurable. It's always encouraging when you are able to achieve the small goals that enable you to reach your long-term goal.

1. The first thing I always recommend is to write down your goals and why you want to achieve them. As the saying goes ‘a goal without a plan is just a wish’, it may be to run a half marathon or possibly just be physically fit enough to play sports with your family. You may want to have a vegan or vegetarian diet or even to get more rest. Whatever your goal is you must be realistic, most of us aren't professional athletes, so your goal must reflect your natural ability and what is achievable to you. It is really important that your goal is not just about your weight or how you look but more to do with how you physically and mentally feel. I can honestly say that with exercise and a healthy diet goal you will not need to worry about your physical appearance as this will be addressed naturally when you start working on your target.

2. Secondly, you need a plan of action on how you’re going to plan your long-term goal. This often will be by completing your short-term goals. For example, if you want to run a half marathon then your short-term goal should be to run small distances weekly, gradually increasing your distance and stamina. The best fun way is to pick activities that are comfortable and realistic for you, then build slowly at a pace that feels right for you. So, your short-term goals play an important part in achieving your long-term goal. Your small daily wins should be written down and shown as a step towards your final destination.

3. Don't be too hard on yourself if sometimes it's not possible to reach your daily goals, everyone is busy and sometimes our circumstances require us to change our habits. Maybe you have family members around, so you can't get out and train that day, a holiday interrupts your schedule or possibly an illness. You have to adapt your physical activity to your current circumstances. What is important is that you don't abandon your goal, you just adjust and adapt. The most important thing to do is stay focused and motivated and get back to your long-term goal steps as soon as you can.

4. When you are planning your long-term goal have a mental image of yourself achieving your aim, see yourself eating healthily, running without getting out of breath, feeling rested and full of energy. This will encourage you to stay on course and focused on the long-term gains.

The main things to remember with goal setting are:

1. Write down exactly what your long-term goal is - be as specific and precise as possible

2. Set yourself small daily goals to help you work towards your ultimate target

3. Keep a log of your progress and be honest about how you are feeling and what obstacles you may have to overcome. Don't be too tough on yourself. Sometimes circumstances change but we can adapt and win in the end. 

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