Examples of Short Term Fitness Goals
Short-term fitness goals build incremental steps to your long-term goal, such as a healthier lifestyle, a leaner body or better performance. They pinpoint the progress you can celebrate and provide perspective so you can assess how well your program is working and the changes you want to implement to reach your long-term goals. Make your short-term goals specific, realistic, measurable and attainable.
If your long-term goal includes eating a healthy diet, your short-term goals spell out how you achieve a healthy diet. When starting your fitness routine, make one to three changes in a two to three week period rather than trying to change everything at once. Some options include reducing your sugar and salt intake by one-fourth, eating three to six vegetables and one or two low glycemic fruits each day, controlling your portions to achieve a specific caloric level or drinking six to eight glasses of water each day. If specific foods trip you up, specify how often you can eat that food or the portion size. A dietitian or your health care provider may offer you specific suggestions, especially if you have diabetes, high blood pressure or cholesterol concerns. Once you have achieved the first short-term goals, you can implement a few new changes until you reach your long-term goal.
If you haven’t made exercise a priority, short-term goals can get you to the place where exercise is a regular part of your routine. You might begin with a short-term goal of 10 to 15 minutes of exercise three times each week. Include some variety in your plan so you don’t become bored and vary the intensity to improve your efforts. Enrolling in an exercise class offers a practical goal because you have class members to celebrate victories and motivate you to continue.
Setting short-term weight goals keeps you motivated and improves your chances for success. For example, begin with a goal of losing two to three pounds the first week and one to two pounds per week after that. If you don’t want to focus on the scale, measure your chest, waist, hips, upper arm and thigh. Set a short-term goal of losing two to three inches every two weeks. You may see changes in measurement or in how your clothes fit more consistently than you see changes on the scale. An alternate short-term goal of losing one full size every two months is actionable and realistic. This goal averages out to 10 to 15 pounds lost for each smaller size.
Miscellaneous short-term fitness goals, such as reading food package labels, meeting with your health care provider for baseline lab work or researching a specific health condition, can affect your long-term fitness goals. These educational goals assist you in making informed fitness choices. Fitness professionals can aid your search and offer suggestions to improve your total fitness.
Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.