How to Challenge Yourself & Make Smart Goals

Getting into a routine with exercise can be tough (trust us, we know). Setting yourself a challenge, like signing up for a fun run or committing to climbing a mountain, is a great way to get motivated and keep you on track. We sat down with Accredited Exercise Scientist, Nardine Presland, to get her tips on how to set yourself a fitness challenge (and succeed!).

Why should you challenge yourself?

A fitness challenge not only provide a reason to improve, but can also demonstrate what the body is capable of. Whatever the size of the challenge, it’s a great way to measure progress. It’s rewarding to see all that training and preparation pay off.

How to make smart goals?

No matter how old you are or how fit you have, you can always challenge yourself. Your goal could anything from getting to the top of those stairs without stopping to completing a half marathon. Setting any challenge requires SMART goal setting.

(S)pecific – Rather than something vague like “improve fitness’, make your goal specific! For example, ‘run 5km in the next 3 months’.

(M)easurable –  this means you need to be able to quantify your goal. For example, a target of “5km” is easily measured.

(A)chievable – Is it possible to reach your goal in the timeframe you’ve set? If you’ve never run before, then aiming to do a marathon in two weeks isn’t achievable. Don’t be scared to push yourself, but be realistic.

(R)elevant – Ask yourself whether the goal is relevant to YOU. If it’s not something that you’re motivated to achieve, then you probably won’t stick at it.

(T)imely – Every goal needs a deadline. Without giving yourself a timeframe, it’s not only hard to stay motivated, but harder to track results.

Goal – Check. So, What’s Next?

You need a plan! Get a calendar and work out how much time you can dedicate – and be realistic. Seek the advice of an expert, like an Accredited Exercise Scientist, to make sure you are training at the right frequency and intensity. Always start small and build up – that goes for warming up into each training session and for the long-term plan – so you can prepare your body gradually and prevent any injury.

If you’re looking to get active and don’t know where to start, click here to find an Accredited Exercise Professional near you.