Forget About the Past
Everyone has past goals they did not accomplish. Stop beating yourself up about the 5 pounds you didn't lose before a vacation or the 10K race you didn't finish. Dwelling on those things only creates barriers between you and your fitness potential. Wipe the slate clean, and start from scratch with your goal planning. Assess where you are in your fitness journey, and set your goals based on who you are today.
Focus On Motivating Activities
Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but that doesn't mean you have to love every activity. If you struggle to find exercises that you enjoy, start evaluating what motivates you. What puts you in a good mood and increases your energy levels? Is it being surrounded by nature or an upbeat song? Maybe you are energized by being with others or feel renewed after spending time alone. All of these factors can help you determine the right exercise for you. Also, remember that not all workouts have to take place in a gym. Hiking or trail running may be the perfect fit. Maybe hip-hop or ballroom dance classes would make you excited to get moving. Focus on what uplifts your spirits and motivates you, and then set your fitness goals around these activities.
Find a Balance and Push Yourself
The general guideline still stands that your goal should be achievable. When you set unrealistic goals like losing 10 pounds in a week or trying to run a 5K with no training, you only set yourself up to fail. At the same time, safely pushing yourself can force you to step out of your comfort zone and accomplish more than you thought possible.
Your goals should have balance. They need to be achievable, but just far enough out of your reach that they motivate you. Have you always wondered if you could run a half marathon? You can. People just like you do it every day. The key is to find the right training plan that will help you prepare based on your current fitness level. Want to squat huge weights like the bodybuilders that motivate you? Pick up a barbell you can handle now and work your way up. Everyone has to start somewhere and push themselves to reach challenging goals.
Pick One and Be Specific
Having too many lofty goals can complicate your efforts. You will struggle with which to focus on, and you may not achieve any of them. Pick the one thing you want to accomplish. It might be for this quarter or for this year. Avoid general goals like losing weight or healthier eating. What is the one goal that will truly influence your health? For example, cutting out soda will have several benefits. If you don't replace those calories, you will lose weight. You will also reduce your added sugar intake and reduce your intake of caffeine. This is an example of a specific goal that will result in the general positive changes you seek.