• Nicola Dale

Fitness Goals and Motivation

Setting goals is a very effective way to motivate yourself to exercise regularly and meeting them can give you a great sense of achievement, pushing you to carry on. When setting yourself goals it’s important that they are realistic and achievable. Below are a few ideas for you to think about.

Female lifting weights. Cable Machine. Lat Raise

Building Strength

This has to be my favourite type of goal. I love being able to pick up heavier and heavier weights and feeling strong and powerful after my workouts. Keep a note of the weights your lifting and the number of reps and sets completed and challenge yourself to keep increasing these. Then whenever you’re having a low motivation day, look back over your notes at how far you’ve come.

You can also test your 1 and 3 rep maxes on big lifts like squats, deadlifts, bench press and hip thrusts and set goals to increase these, but make sure you’re with someone who can spot you to keep you safe during heavier lifts.

Goal Ideas:

· Barbell Back Squat X amount of weight for 3reps.

· Deadlift X weight for 3 sets of 8 reps.

· Complete 3 unassisted pull ups.

Find a Type of Exercise You Genuinely Enjoy

You don’t have to go to the gym or run to exercise. You can dance, play sports, hike, go on bike rides and so much more. Think about it, as a kid you stayed active by joining a host of different after school activities so why not do this now. Look up your local adult sports teams, find an adult dance or gymnastics class or buy a cheap second hand bike and explore your local area. Get involved with the community for that activity and meet like-minded people who can hold you accountable and help motivate you to keep showing up.

Goal Ideas:

· Try 1 new activity a month.

· Attend 1 dance class a week.

· Go hiking once a month.

· Cycle or Walk to work 2 times a week.

Master a Skill/Challenge

Perhaps you’ve always wanted to be able to do a full push up or a pull up, climb a rope, learn to surf or do a backflip. Or maybe you want to run a marathon, complete a triathlon or swim a set distance. However big or small the challenge, pick something that the idea of achieving excites you and use this goal to motivate the rest of your workouts. Structure your workout plan so that it is developing the necessary skills to be successful at the challenge.

Goal Ideas:

· Complete a set of 10 full push ups.

· Take part in a 10km race.

· Attend a swimming lesson once a week.

Compete Against Yourself and Friends

AMRAP (explained here) means As Many Rounds or Reps as Possible. Choose a few exercises (you can find sample AMRAP workouts on my Instagram: @nicolaa_dale) set a number of reps, set a timer and then complete as many rounds as possible in the set amount of time.

i.e. Set a 20min Timer and complete as many rounds of the following as possible:

1. 15 Bodyweight Squats

2. 8 Burpees

3. 10 Push Ups

4. 20 Alt Reverse Lunges (10each leg)

5. 10 Shoulder Taps

Keep Track of how many rounds you manage to complete and test yourself in a few weeks to

try and beat it. Get your friends involved and push yourselves with a bit of healthy competition. You could alter this to work with activities like running, cycling and swimming by challenging yourself to see how much distance you can cover in a set amount of time.

Goal Ideas:

· Complete 1 extra round of the AMRAP within the given time.

· Run 5km in 30minutes.

· Workout with a friend once a week.

Two women taking part in partner yoga


Set yourself the goal of working out X number of times a week for X amount of time. Big changes are difficult to stick so don’t start by setting yourself a target of working out 6 times a week for an hour. Why not start off with 3 45-60min workouts a week or if you’re really busy try fitting in 4 or 5 20min sessions a week. Have a plan for what you’re going to do each session but allow yourself the flexibility to change based on how you feel that day.

Keep track of how you’re feel after each session and how having a consistent exercise routine makes you feel. For example, you may be getting less out of breath running up the stairs, your walk to work might be more enjoyable as you get fitter, you may find you have less joint pain, you might start to feel happier and have a clearer mind or perhaps carrying the shopping to the car is getting easier. Noting down how exercise is improving your daily life is a fantastic way to motivate you to stay consistent.

Goal Ideas:

· Workout 3 times a week for 45minutes.

· Hit 10,000 steps every day.

· Write down how you feel after every workout to understand the mental benefits.


I wanted to touch on aesthetics as this a big motivation to workout for a lot of people. Maybe you want to change the way you look and there’s nothing wrong with this as long as it doesn’t come from a place of self-loathing. If this is your goal, I would avoid obsessing over the scales as your weight will fluctuate day to day for a multitude of reasons. If you do opt to weight yourself, only do it once a week on the same day at the same time and be aware some weeks the number may stay the same or even go up. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve put on weight. It’s important to remember aesthetic progress won’t be linear, some days you’ll feel more bloated and some you’ll feel leaner. This is completely normal and everyone experiences it, even the super shredded individuals you see on social media Don’t compare yourself to other people’s photos because they don’t walk around looking like their photos and your body is completely unique to you.

To track your aesthetics, I recommend taking progress photos every few weeks. Progress photos allow you to see the smallest changes in your body composition and can be a great source of motivation.

Take Away:

You can set goals in all areas of health and fitness. Make them specific and trackable and write them down so you can visually see the progress you’re making. Select a range of short and long-term goals to keep you motivated and involve other people to hold yourself accountable.

My current goals are:

· Master a full push up for 10reps

· Squat my bodyweight

What goals will you set yourself? Let me know down below

Nicola x

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