When do you think is the most popular time of the year to set a new fitness goal? You’d be right if you guessed on January 1. More people set fitness goals at the beginning of the year than any other time, with nearly half of all Americans setting at least one new year's resolution. The second most popular time is just before summer; people want to feel confident in their swimwear on summer vacations.
But what about setting a new fitness goal on Labor Day? At FitMyFoot, we think that regularly setting short-term fitness goals throughout the year is an effective way to continuously progress towards your bigger goals. Based on this, Labor Day is a perfect time to reflect on your progress throughout summer and set some new goals as we move into the final quarter of the year.
In this article we’re going to give you some inspiration to help you set a new fitness goal this fall. So if you have big goals and dreams when it comes to your health and fitness, this article is for you! Let’s get started.
Why you should set fitness goals this Labor Day weekend
The seasons are changing. Labor Day weekend is officially the marker that summer is over. We’re trading out our bikinis and sun hats for cosy sweaters and beanies. Fall is here. By the time winter rolls around, the average person can expect to gain a whopping five to seven pounds! This is likely due to a combination of weather changes and holidays centered around eating and drinking - many of us fall off the bandwagon.
For those readers who are committed to improving their health or fitness, it can be daunting to move into winter. As mentioned, the average person gains weight during winter. It’s a time filled with overeating and overdrinking, combined with cold and dark days - makes it pretty unmotivating to keep active and healthy.
But if you are on a fitness journey, staying motivated in the face of adversity is essential for your success. If you fall at the first hurdle, you may never achieve the goals you set out to achieve. The way you trial through adversity is by setting clear goals and intentions, and by preempting the situations that may make you struggle.
That’s why we believe in setting fitness goals. Goal setting provides direction and focus, gives you a sense of personal satisfaction when you notice you are getting closer to achieving them, and is a powerful way to get you motivated. Studies show that people who regularly set goals are more likely to achieve them, and you are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals if you simply write them down.
When you establish goals, it gives you direction. You are essentially creating a roadmap of where you are heading and why it will benefit your life. All you have to do is take a moment to reflect on your life - what you want and how you can get there. Next, you have to write them down, and get to work.
What types of goals should you set?
The best way to approach goal setting is to create SMART goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based.
SMART goals are:
- Specific - Clear and precise to the point
- Measurable - There is a way to track the progress and attainment of the goal
- Achievable - They are realistic
- Relevant - Achieving the goal will directly help to improve your life
- Time-based - There is a time limit in which the goal needs to be achieved
In studies, researchers discover that setting SMART goals results in better rates of goal attainment. You’re more likely to feel motivated because your goals are clear.
What are the most common fitness goals?
If you need a little inspiration, we’ve got you! Here are some of the most common fitness goals and how to reach them.
Amongst the Americans that set new year’s resolutions, 71 percent make a resolution to diet or eat healthier, 65 percent want to exercise more and 54 percent want to lose weight, according to a survey. This gives you a pretty good idea of what the most common fitness goals would be, regardless of when you set them.
- Eat healthier
- Exercise more
- Lose weight
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Here’s how you can put these three goals into the SMART framework for success.
- Eat healthier
- Specific - To eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, and to only eat out once per week.
- Measurable - Track each time I eat a fruit or vegetable per day into an app.
- Achievable - I will substitute unhealthy snacks and sides for a piece of fruit or a serving of vegetables. I am not restricting, I am replacing.
- Relevant - I know that by increasing my intake of fruits and vegetables and limiting the amount I eat out, I will get more nutrients and be healthier.
- Time-based - I will trial this for one month.
- Exercise more
- Specific - To workout five times per week.
- Measurable - I will track my activity levels using an Apple Watch.
- Achievable - I will work with a personal trainer to ensure I go to each workout.
- Relevant - By working out regularly, I will feel healthier and happier.
- Time-based - I will pay a personal trainer for a three month plan.
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- Lose weight
- Specific - To lose 10 lbs by December 6.
- Measurable - Track weight daily and add into a spreadsheet to get a weekly weight change average.
- Achievable - I will commit to working out five days per week for one hour because this fits into my schedule.
- Relevant - I used to be 10 lbs lighter but fell off the bandwagon due to covid. I know I can achieve this, and will be a lot happier for it.
- Time-based - I have until December 6 to lose 10 lbs.
To learn more about how to set health and fitness goals, check out this article we wrote titled How Many Steps To Take Per Day For Your Personal Goals.
With Labor Day weekend approaching, use this as your opportunity to reflect on your summer progress and how you can move closer to your fitness goals this fall. Good luck!