Guest Column: 4 tips for setting yourself up for smart fitness goals

Published 3:06 pm Tuesday, June 21, 2016

By Kathy Johnson

Kathy Johnson is the creative director for Albert Lea magazine and the Albert Lea Tribune. During her spare time she is a group fitness instructor at the Albert Lea Family Y.

Kathy Johnson

Kathy Johnson


Goals are a great way to stay accountable for so many things in life.  When making goals, keep the following four steps in mind to help you be successful.

1. Choose realistic, yet challenging goals that can serve you throughout your life. If you are very sedentary now, walking 20 to 30 minutes a day would be a great place to start. If you are a more active person, start a more intense workout or a walk and run program that will challenge you. Whatever you choose, make sure it is something you have an interest in and you will find enjoyable. Some great ideas are aerobic activities, along with fitness classes, stretching, lifting weights and anything that will get you up and moving.

2. Keep a paper or electronic journal of your long- and short-term goals. Make sure your short-term goal is doable. If you currently run or walk one mile a day, aim for twice as much. Make your longer-term goal a little more challenging — maybe walk or run five miles after a month or two of training. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you log it, so you can track the progress. Seeing the progress will keep you motivated to continue the efforts. You could track the progress, either by minutes you exercise, distance or number of classes or walks per week.

3. Record or log all of your fitness, whether on paper or an online tracker. There are so many fitness-tracking devices to choose from today. I have a Fitbit, and it automatically tracks all my runs and steps for me. Everything is on my watch, and I can just check it at the end of the day. These fitness devices are also excellent for having friendly and challenging competitions with friends and family. Make it fun with a little game of getting and staying active. If you don’t have an electronic device, log it in your journal and compare each day for your progress. As you improve, challenge yourself to push your fitness to the next level.

4. Make sure you are adaptable if you need to be. If your goal is to run five miles and it is raining all day, you will have to choose the following day for that run. Make your fitness goals based on your personality and lifestyle. If you are an outdoors person, make your goal for an outside activity. If you are more of an inside person, maybe joining a local gym would be more for you.

Being realistic about your fitness goals means you probably won’t see results as quickly as you want. You have to be patient and keep the momentum going and embrace fitness as a lifelong goal.