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The Reason You Need To Goal Set

Updated: Dec 21, 2022

Why is it important to set fitness goals?

Fitness goals are an essential part of your wellness journey. By setting goals, you are better able to hold yourself accountable, show yourself what you are capable of, and can also help you push through the more difficult moments to make a longer-lasting change.

Defined goals put your ideas into action. It's the vital step between planning and doing. Set a goal which excites you in a specific time and build up towards your goal. Write it down and book it in.

On the mat, contemplating my goals, Emma Najman, Physiotherapist, Pilates & Fitness Instructor and Yoga Therapist
On the mat, contemplating my goals, Emma Najman, Physiotherapist, Pilates & Fitness Instructor and Yoga Therapist

Physical Activity Goals

It can be hard to commit to and keep an exercise routine initially, or you may not feel fit enough to even start.

What are long term fitness goals?

Bigger goals which take longer to achieve broken down with short term goals along the way.

Programs like couch to 5km focus on achieving small goals to meet a larger goal in the future. If you’re somewhere between the couch and walking or running a 5km try these goals first:

Long term goals, running endurance goals, competing at the Gold Coast Marathon Festival
Long term goals, running endurance goals, competing at the Gold Coast Marathon Festival

Setting Step Goals

Walking is one of the best things you can do for your health. Setting goals for steps taken in a day is an effective way to be aware of your walking lifestyle. Gradually increasing and meeting step goals is a way to make your day more physically active.

Trying a New Workout

You won’t work out regularly if you’re bored. Set a goal to try a new type of workout every month, and commit to at least three sessions before deciding if you like it.

Exercising One More Time

Increasing your workouts is an achievable goal when you do it gradually. If you work out three times a week, try four times next week. If you don’t exercise at all, try going just once next week. Similarly, if you’re normally at the gym for 30 minutes, try extending that session to 40 or 45 minutes next time.


The last five minutes of a workout isn’t the only time you should stretch during the day. Set a goal to stretch in the morning, periodically throughout the day, if you are stationary with your work or daily activities, and just before bed, to help you sleep better and your muscles to recover from your exercise.

Breathing Exercises

Do you ever find yourself holding your breath during exercise? Regular breathing exercises not only centre you in the moment, improving mental clarity, they can improve your function during physical activities. Create a timer on your phone to remind yourself to practice breathing exercises during the day. Even breathing in to a slow count and breathing out for the same, or a longer count, for one minute is beneficial for for body and mind.

Breathing Exercises in Yoga Lotus Pose, Padmasana

Mental and Emotional Health Goals

It’s easy to overlook other needs as you maintain your physical health. But mental and emotional health are vital parts of overall personal health. Here are some ways to make sure your mind is as healthy as your body.

Establishing a Morning Routine

If the first thing you do in the day is grab your phone, you need a new routine. Creating and following a set morning routine is great for your headspace and mental health. Write down your routine before you go to sleep, and put the list where you’d normally put your phone. It’s a great start to your day!

Get More Sleep

If you’re not getting at least seven hours of sleep a night, it can take a toll on your health. Make it a goal to get to bed at least eight hours before you need to be awake the next morning. Try to go to bed early enough to wake naturally, so you have had enough sleep, rather than being woken by an alarm, which is a stressful, unnatural way to start your day.

Resting meditation in Yoga Corpse Pose, Shavasana
Resting meditation in Yoga Corpse Pose, Shavasana

Identifying Emotional Reactions

Feeling occasional moments of frustration and stress is normal. However, if you find yourself bogged down most of the time, you may need to assess your emotional reactions. Make a note of your emotional reactions during the day to determine whether your feelings may be outsized or whether your environment is too stressful. If it’s your environment access how you can make changes.

Organising Home Space To Exercise Or Join a Gym

Neat, clear and tidy spaces to exercise are more motivating. Make small goals to organise a space, including equipment needed, if you are planning to exercise from home, or organise a gym membership.


Set a goal to keep a record of what you achieve each day over the course of a week or month. When the time period is over, you’ll see your progress and consistency, have plenty to reflect on, and you’ll likely want to keep going.

Setting SMART Goals

Goals should be both challenging and practical. A SMART checklist ensures a goal is reachable. SMART stands for:

  • Specific: What small step do you need to take when reaching a larger general goal?

  • Measurable: What evidence can determine whether your goal is met?

  • Achievable: Can you reach this goal in a timely, healthy manner?

  • Relevant: Are you likely to commit yourself to this goal? Does it contribute to bigger goals you have in your life?

  • Time-Bound: When you do want to have reached this goal?

Smart goal setting fitness:

SMART goals help you take steps toward an overall goal. Wanting to lead a healthier lifestyle is an important goal, and making individual SMART goals can help get you there.

Tips for Setting Goals

How do you set your fitness goals?

Keep these pointers in mind as you choose the best items for your health goal list.

  • Focus on one goal at a time. If you feel overwhelmed, it can be hard to achieve even the most reasonable goals.

  • Be kind to yourself. Don’t be hard on yourself if you miss one day or slip on a goal. Everyone is human, and you’re trying your best.

  • Be honest about habits. Setting a goal to take 15,000 steps a day is admirable, but if you’ve only been taking 1,000 steps previously, the goal may not be attainable right away.

  • Build (and use) a support system. You’re not in this alone! Set goals with a community of friends, coworkers, or family members, and encourage each other along the way.

  • Focus on the whys. Understanding why you want to be healthier is key to meeting your goals. Whether you want to improve your marathon time or you want to make it around the block, your inspiration matters.

  • Mark time in your calendar for exercise: Set a schedule just like you set a meeting on your work calendar or your kids after school schedule. Make the times realistic when you know you will have the least amount of distractions.

  • Recruit a workout partner: A friend or family member can help hold you accountable and make working out even more enjoyable. On the days that you really don’t feel like doing it, your friend will motivate you to show up.

  • Get some support: Let your friends, family, even children know about your goals and how they can support you in achieving them.

  • Journal throughout your fitness journey: Reflecting on experiences through journal writing. Practice recording your workouts either written or even voice memos. This helps you see and hear your accomplishments over time. You can look back and see how far you’ve come.

  • Find some great fitness goals quotes: An inspirational quote can be an amazing motivator. Write it out and place it somewhere visible, or make it your phone background or desktop image so you see it every day.

10 health and fitness smart goals examples for beginners:

  • Learn how to do a full Push Up in 3 months.

  • Increase the reps in your workout next week.

  • Take the stairs every day.

  • Touch your toes in 3 months.

  • Drink 3 litres of water a day.

  • Do 10,000 steps a day.

  • Limit fast food to 1 day a week.

  • Hold a plank for more than one minute in 3 months.

  • Balance on one leg for 30 seconds in 1 month.

  • Visit your doctor for a check up once a year.

  • Book a Physio to advise you and support you with a suitable plan this week.

Push Up Goal
Push Up Goal

What fitness goals should I set?

Common fitness goals to set for yourself:

  • Shedding fat – The most common goal of the people who decide to start exercising is to lose fat. In addition to exercise, you should also seek advice about modifying your eating habits, reducing caloric intake, and reducing carbohydrates.

  • Building muscles – Some people don’t have a weight problem, instead, they want to build muscle in order to look and feel better. This involves plenty of heavy lifts and an increased intake of proteins. Consulting a Physiotherapist or personal trainer is the best option when trying to build muscles.

  • Improving endurance – Some people get winded as they take the stairs. This motivates them to start working out and improve their endurance. 20-30 minute H.I.I.T., (high intensity interval training), with a hard working phase, followed by a slower, rest phase, eg running, using steppers or rowers. The other option is L.I.S.S., (low interval steady state cardio), increasing your heart rate, to 50-70% of your maximum heart rate, (220 minus your age), and maintaining your heart rate within this range.

  • Increasing flexibility – If you’re looking to improve flexibility, you should first consult a Physio or Pilates Instructor. They will evaluate, and help you with how to improve. Be careful not to overdo it and don’t stretch through joint pain.

  • Toning – Some people just want to tone up. They don’t want to overdo it with building large muscles, and they don’t have a problem with too much fat. Toning requires building muscle, requiring regular exercise and modifying eating habits. While a toned body sounds easier to attain than a muscular one, it still requires you to form a plan and put in regular effort.

How to achieve my fitness goals?

Set your goals and seek support.

Physiotherapist supporting her patient with her exercise program on the pilates Wunda chair
Physiotherapist supporting her patient with her exercise program on the pilates Wunda chair

Structure your exercise routines.

  • Set long term fitness goals – Create a physical fitness goal setting worksheet. First, set the goals you’re striving towards, whether losing fat, getting a muscular body, or improving your endurance. Aim high, so your goal is exciting, but try to be realistic too.

  • Set short term fitness goals – Once you know what you wish to achieve, you need to set monthly or weekly goals to create an atmosphere of success, and to be able to monitor your own progress better. Add to your physical fitness goal setting worksheet.

  • Measure your progress – Find a way to measure your progress. long term fitness goal.

  • Make your short term fitness goals attainable – Do not set goals that are too demanding to attain. You shouldn’t be too easy on yourself either, by setting yourself up for failure will only demotivate you and make you hate the path you’re on.

  • Follow the plan – Once you and your Physio or fitness instructor have put together an exercising routine, you must stick to it. It is essential to develop the habit of exercising and to become responsible enough to carry out your weekly or monthly plans.

  • Find motivation – Find a way to motivate yourself through every goal, over every hurdle, and towards final success. Make sure you’re doing this for yourself, not for anybody else, and be happy because of it.

  • Reward yourself – For all the effort you’re putting in. Once you successfully achieve a monthly goal, treat yourself. Everybody needs a cheat day from time to time, and allowing yourself one after a month of hard work will only get you going stronger after it.

Where do I want to be?

Picture it.

If I could wave a magic wand where would you like to be?

Write down your GOAL you NEED to achieve and why you NEED TO exercise and stick YOUR GOAL on your fridge, pin board, wall, screen saver on your phone/laptop/computer, tell your family and friends to encourage you and remind yourself constantly.

Remember motivation NEEDS a GOAL!

We need to find it, keep it and make it HAPPEN!

Do you need help to set you GOAL and become motivated to GET STARTED?

Apply for our FREE physical assessment to see where you are currently at and receive your results broken down for you so you know what you need to improve on and can see your progress to keep to MOTIVATED to reach your GOAL

Click the link below and I look forward to seeing you inside

Emma Najman, Cancer Rehab and NDIS Physiotherapist, Pilates & Fitness Instructor and Yoga Therapist
Emma Najman, Cancer Rehab and NDIS Physiotherapist, Pilates & Fitness Instructor and Yoga Therapist

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