Top Nine Rules For Setting Goals And Sticking To Them

Everyone works out for a reason.

Ask anyone who lifts, and they’ll have a goal in mind: “I want to get stronger,” “I’m trying to get bigger,” “I wanna get rid of my gut”.

But more often than not, goals can be a bit vague and unrealistic. And when you’ve got nothing to reach for, you inevitably won’t get there.

Once you have a proper goal however, things become a lot more structured. You’ll have a real focus and you’ll know how you should be training.

So, how do you go about setting the right goals?

We’ve put together a list of our top nine golden rules for setting goals to help you stay motivated and on track.

Fitness expert does a full plank on a Mirafit 2 tone mat in the gym

How To Set Goals And Stick To Them

1) Assess where you’re at now

If you’ve ever been lost in an unfamiliar city, you’ll know that you need to find out where you are on the map, to be able to get to where you’re headed. Equally, when training, you need to know where you’re at so that you can assess what it is you need to do to reach your goals.

This means actually committing to your training. Taking notes and working out exactly where you are in terms of your lifts so that you know how to move forward.

You’ll also want to keep an eye on the speed of your progression. Whether you’re making a good amount of progress each week, or whether you’ve hit a plateau and it’s going to take some time to push through. Doing this not only tells you where you’re at, but also how quickly you can make gains and get closer to where you want to be.

2) Be realistic

Saying that you want to lose 20lb in a week isn’t realistic. Nor is it realistic to think you can keep adding 20kg onto your bar each week.

What we would like to be able to do, isn’t always what we can do!

In addition, there’s very little point in using other people as a guide for our own goals. Everyone’s genes are different, and one person’s potential can be completely different to someone else.

Look at where you’re at, look at your rate of progression and decide what’s right for you from there.

3) Give yourself a deadline

A vague aim with no deadline isn’t a goal. Every goal should have a timeframe so when the deadline approaches, you know you can hit it.

Timeframes need to be realistic and they also need to be fairly close at all times to help you stay on it.

To make this happen, you might have to split your main goal up into short, medium and long-term goals. Not to over-complicate everything. But just so you have set stages to get through in order to reach your ultimate goal.

Timeframes that are more immediate are a great motivator. And if you do miss a stage due to injury or other commitments, it’s easier to take a step back and re-plan.

4) Don’t get too comfortable

As soon as you see yourself making progress, it can be easy to lose that initial drive that you had at the beginning. It’s good to feel proud of what you’ve achieved but equally, you’re not there yet.

Find out what it is that made you want to reach that goal in the first place. What was it that you were unhappy with or what is it that makes you really want to get to a particular level?

Whatever it is, find that emotion and remind yourself of it, every single time you train.

5) Leave your ego at the door

If you’re training to get stronger or bigger, it’s natural to want to get on it asap. But if you have a long-term injury or an area that’s particularly weak, jumping straight in at the deep end is probably one of the worst things you can do.

After all, it’s really important to get the foundations right before you build a house.

Tackle the areas that need attention first. See a professional if you need to. Get everything balanced and back to working order before you think about piling on the weights.

Fitness expert does a dumbbell fly on a Mirafit weight bench in the gym

6) Focus is everything

Training isn’t about switching off and going through the motions. You need to be completely focused. Having the right mindset is really important for pushing yourself to the next level. It can also make the difference between staying the same and hitting a new PB.

You need to be prepared, charged and ready. Also, concentrating on the specific muscle that you’re working will help your performance.  This is because you can activate a particular muscle more accurately when you focus all your attention on it – how it should feel when you use it and also to make sure you full extend and contract.

7) Be ready to adapt

We all have days when we just have more energy. When sleep, rest and nutrition all align, and you know that you’re having a really good training session.

These are days when you need to adapt and push yourself.

So, if you’re bench pressing a high-end amount of weight and you know you can do more – just try it. That way, you might just hit a new PB. It can help you mentally too as once you’ve done something once, you know you can do it again.

So, just be ready to adjust and adapt your training to help you hit your goals.

8) Consistency is key

Having a strict training plan that has zero contingency can set you up for failure. Instead, decide how many times you’re going to train per week, as well as what you’re going to do on each day.

After you’ve done that, make sure that there’s room for a backup plan. If you do need to swap things around a little, it’s good to know that you can still get your training in, whatever life throws at you. Not just so you stay on track, but because the more times you miss your training, the more likely it is to become a habit.

Consistency in terms of actual training is also key for helping you build muscle. You need those regular bread and butter exercises to ensure you keep progressing. There might be days when you’re a bit off or not feeling it, but it’s really key to maintain that pace to see overall improvements.

9) Break each movement down

We mentioned focus earlier and we’re going to mention it again. If you’re doing a compound lift such as a squat and you’re finding it hard to improve, you need to find out why. It’s going to be really hard to step up to a heavier weight while ignoring a problem or an issue.

If you know something could be smoother – work on it. If you know there’s a part of you that could be more mobile – work on it.

That’s why it’s so important to stay focused while you lift. Notice these things and then supplement your training with extra exercises that help you tackle those issues.

Mirafit Cast Iron Kettlebell in use

A space to train

When you’ve got a strict training plan and specific goals that you want to reach within a specific timeframe, there’s nothing like having your own place to train.

Not only will it help you stay motivated, but you’ll save on time and there’s no waiting around for equipment.

Thinking of kitting out your garage gym? It’s a lot easier than you think. Find out where to start here.