Setting Fitness Goals in the New Year

A group of runners head down a street.
Photo by Mārtiņš Zemlickis on Unsplash

It’s a new year, which means it’s the perfect time to make (and stick to) new fitness goals!

This year, I want to run more frequently and to improve on my 5k time. I’m also working on developing healthier eating habits, which could be the topic of a future blog post. Here’s what I recommend after a few years of setting (and often failing to reach) fitness goals.

  1. Choose a goal that’s a bit of a challenge.

I’m going to run three times a week this semester. I know of two days when it will be really easy to fit a half-hour run into my schedule, which leaves me with the challenge of figuring out that third day – especially if I want to take a day to rest between each run. I’m doing this with the goal of running a 5k in the spring. I did the same thing last year.  I trained all winter and then did a race in the spring. I didn’t perform as well in the race as I wanted. Plus, almost immediately following the race, I ran into (no pun intended) some health issues and was advised to stop running until I got better. Even when I got better, though, I didn’t pick up the sport with quite the same determination.

That is, until now! I’m going to run a 5k in the spring, starting over basically from scratch in terms of my stamina and endurance, since I haven’t been running nearly as much this past fall. I’m proud of how I pushed myself last year, and I want to shorten my race time this spring. I may also decide at the last minute to switch from a 5k to an 8k, depending on how hyped-up/optimistic I feel when the time comes. Flexibility is key!

  1. Get friends to hold you accountable.

It was a friend who initially asked me to join her in a race this spring. Since I want to start running more often anyways, it’s the perfect goal to work towards! I also have a friend who I’ve committed to run with once a week, which will help me to actually get out there. Tell your friends your plans and ask them to check in on you – it’ll increase your odds for success.

  1. Choose a sport or activity that you don’t hate.

I have moments when I hate running. I tell all my friends that running is the worst. But sometimes during a run I hit a point where it doesn’t even feel like I’m pushing myself – I’m flying, and I’m amazed by what my body can do. That’s what keeps me coming back. Even if my run isn’t great one day, it’s redeemed by the knowledge that I accomplished something and got a little further than where I was before!

In the comments, tell us your fitness goals for the year!

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