There's nothing wrong with setting New Year's resolutions to improve your overall health. The problem with them is that people set huge goals for themselves, like losing 30 lbs. It's not a bad goal, in fact weight loss is a common New Year goal, but it can be mentally overwhelming looking at that big goal you've set for yourself - instead of motivating!
If you want to actually reach your goals, for the long term, set micro goals to help you reach your macro goal! Micro goals are smaller, short term goals that lead to your bigger long term goals, or your macro goal. So, instead of looking at your huge health and fitness goals that you've set, you'll able to see the steps that get you there.
Micro goals are not talked about often, so we're going to guide you through why you should set them and how to. That way you can actually accomplish your New Year goals, and even pick up some good habits along the way!
Why setting micro goals is beneficial
How many times have you heard, "practice makes perfect", or "take it slow"? Probably countless times! That's because you have to look at the small picture in order to see the bigger picture. Think of micro goals the same way. They are your baby steps to your big specific goal!
Aside from making it easier for you to succeed and accomplish your fitness goals, here are other reasons why you should set micro goals:
They help you create a good plan! It can be intimidating seeing an overall goal, like weight loss or starting a new strength training routine like lifting weights to build muscles. Seeing all the information online about how to achieve those goals is even more intimidating! Setting micro goals will help you create a detailed plan that basically outlines how you'll achieve your big goal. For example, let's say one of your New Year goals is to start working out consistently and eat healthier to lose weight. When you set up your micro goals you essentially want to break that down to smaller pieces. Set a goal to cook at home six out of the seven days of the week, workout three times a week, and eat in a deficit of x amount of calories a day. By setting those smaller goals you're already planning out how you're going to achieve your big goal!
They increase motivation! One of the biggest reasons people quite their New Year's Resolutions or their fitness goals is because they stop seeing progress. Motivation is typically driven by results, so once you stop seeing that it can start diminishing. Setting and accomplishing your smaller goals will help you see the progress you're making thus helping increase and maintain your motivation throughout your fitness journey.
They help you build self-discipline! Setting small daily goals, like walking for 30 minutes every day, will help you build the habit of doing that thus helping you build self-discipline. Unfortunately, motivation comes and goes, and although micro goals can help maintain your motivation, there still might be days when you don't feel like doing your workout routine. And that's okay because you've built the habit of doing it and after a month or so you'll have the discipline to get up and go to the gym, motivation or not!
It'll take a lot of time and effort for you to achieve your fitness goals, but having smaller goals along the way will make a huge positive difference on your journey, and even make it an easier one!
How to set micro goals
Before you set your smaller goals, you have to set the big one first! To set a good fitness goal you need to be specific and realistic. Don't just state that you want to lose weight, or build muscle. Be specific about the amount you're trying to lose or gain, your time frame, etc. If you haven't set yours yet, or you're not sure how, here's our fitness goals for beginners guide!
Once you've set your macro goal, then you can start setting the smaller goals that help get you there. We'll give you some examples of micro health and fitness goals, but first here are three tips to help you create your own micro goals:
Break your overall goal down to categories – Typically when it comes to fitness goals they can be broken down into two categories, diet and exercise. Many tend to focus on only establishing a consistent exercise routine, leaving the most important part behind. So, when you set your micro goals make sure to break it down into categories. In this case, diet and exercise! From there you can set micro goals for each category.
Make them daily or weekly – Breaking down your goals can look like aiming to lose 5lbs in a month, that way you achieve your 20lb goal in four months. But breaking them down even smaller is better! Setting daily micro goals, like making sure to eat nutritious food before a snack, can help keep you on track and build healthier habits. Setting weekly goals, like cooking 6x a week, will do the same! They're smaller goals, therefore more achievable which brings us to the next point...
Set realistic goals that you can actually achieve – Aiming for the stars is great, but you have to be realistic if you actually want to achieve it! What we mean by this is, if you're really busy with work, kids, etc, then chances are you won't be able to work 5+ times a week. So, don't set a micro goal to workout 5x week. You might be able to achieve it once in a while, but it's not ideal and it will only add more stress in your life... and if you didn't know, stress can negatively impact your weight loss efforts! Instead, be realistic. If you're busy, aim to do three full-body workouts a week and aim to walk on your off days. Whatever the case is, know your limits and plan around them.
As an additional tip: write your goals down! If you're setting daily or weekly goals write them in your calendar to help you stick to it.
Health and fitness goal examples
Everyone will have their own micro goals because they're specific to your overall fitness goal, and everyone's are unique to them! So, instead of telling you what micro goals you should set, here are some examples of good fitness goals to spark some ideas...
Track your macronutrients during the week: Tracking macros is a great way to ensure you're in a calorie deficit (or surplus for muscle gain) and eating enough nutrients! Setting a small goal to track your macros during the week, and taking a break on the weekend, is a great way to keep you on track to your overall goal and it can be easily accomplished.
Go on a 30 minute walk four times a week: For those who hate cardio, but want to lose body fat, set a small goal to walk at least 30 minutes a few times a week. Strength training is one of the best ways to lose weight, so if you love lifting weights keep doing that! Just don't neglect your cardio.
Hit a PR on a compound exercise: If you're trying to build muscle create small goals for yourself on key compound exercises. For example, if you're trying to grow your glutes set a weight you want to achieve for hip thrusts or squats. So, if you're just starting out and still using dumbbells to workout, set a goal to be able to perform a barbell back squat. There are many ways to go about it!
Plan your meals every Sunday: Planning your meals will help you eat and grocery shop better! Those who struggle sticking to cooking during the week should consider setting a goal to plan their meals out once a week. This will encourage you to eat better and actually eat the healthy food you bought at the grocery store!
Pack a healthy lunch for work three times a week: For those who hate meal prepping and eating the same foods every day, consider setting a smaller goal to pack a healthy lunch at least three times week. Eventually you can work your way up to packing a lunch everyday!
These are just a few examples of micro fitness and health goals you can set that will get you on the right path to your goals and help you establish healthy habits. But remember, set goals that align with your macro goal and be realistic! Doing this will help you not only achieve your fitness goals, but make the journey an easier and less stressful one!
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