How to Set Short Term Fitness Goals (with Examples)

Short term fitness goals are an important part of creating a healthy lifestyle. Learn how to set them and what they should be...

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Have you thought much about goals?

What yours are? What you want to achieve?

Because they are important.

Working towards something for yourself, something outside of your family, something that will make you a bit happier. It’s important.

Otherwise, what’s the point?

Whether you want financial independence. A degree. A renovated house. Or to lose a few pounds. It’s important to have something.

But those goals are big. They’re long-term goals. Goals that will happen, but, they’ll happen at some point in the future.

They feel a long way off.

Just focusing on those can be a bit discouraging. It can feel a bit daunting.

They’re so far in the future you can’t really get a handle on them. You can’t imagine how it will feel when you get there.

You might not even know how to get there.

That’s where short term fitness goals come in.

These type of goals should take a week, a couple of weeks at most until you’re seeing the benefit. By the end of the week you should be able to say...‘yep, did that. What’s next?’

They make you feel empowered. You’re achieving something on a regular basis. And all of these little, short term goals are leading you to your big, long term goals.

Ok, so how do you do it?

Short term fitness goals are an important part of creating a healthier and happier lifestyle. Learn how to set them and what they should be...

Short Term Fitness Goals: How to Set Short Term Goals.

I want you to think about your main goal, your ultimate goal as your destination. The place you’re going to be when you’ve achieved what you want to achieve.

Your short-term goals are short-term actions, they’re your road map. The way you’re going to get there.

They’re going to help you keep motivated. Help you stay on track. Help you develop healthy habits. Help you monitor if you are going in the right direction or if you need to adjust your plan.

So, how do you set them?

Smart Stands For...

  • S = Specific Goals
  • M = Measurable Goals
  • A = Achievable Goals
  • R = Realistic Goals or Relevant Goals
  • T = Time focused

You break your larger goal down into smaller, more attainable goals.

For example, if you have weight loss goals, you would set a smaller amount to lose each week. And then you would set an action plan of of how you were going to do that.

Whatever goal you are setting, long term, short term, fitness, financial, educational, whatever it is make sure they’re smart goals.

I’ll tell you why.

It is a framework, a methodology if you like to make sure you’re setting goals that you can actually achieve.

So what would that look like for your long-term fitness goals and your short-term fitness goals?

Short Term Fitness Goals: Smart Fitness Goals

Any goal you set whether it's a long term or short term goal, they should be SMART.

Ok, so if we were working together I’d ask you what you want to achieve.

And you might say ‘I want to be a bit healthier’.

My first questions to you would be why? What does being healthier look like to you? How will you know when you’re healthier?

And you might sit there for a little while and ponder...”well, I want to be a bit slimmer”. Ok, great.

How much slimmer? Are we talking about toning up a little bit, or are we talking about losing a dress size or two?

“Ummm….A couple of dress sizes really. I’m a size 14 (UK) at the moment and I’d really like to be a size 10.”

Ok. So, let’s weigh you and find out where we’re starting.

By the way, I’m talking about me here. This is a conversation I had with myself so if you’re relating and you feel bad. Please don’t. I’ve been there.

You jump on the scales and realise you’re 13 stone, over 80 kilos, 182 pounds.

Eek. You hadn’t realised you were that heavy.

Ok. That’s it. That is definitely too heavy. I’m not doing myself any favours. I need to, I want to lose weight.


Let’s get some weight off.

“I want to be around the 10 stone mark.”

How to set a SMART goal

So, that’s 3 stone, or 20 kilograms, or 42 pounds, to lose.

Ok, that’s a specific goal. To lose 3 stone. It’s also measurable. When you jump on the scales again, you’ll know if you’ve hit it.

Is it achievable? Well, yes. Technically. Being 13 stone there is scope to lose 3 stone.

I do want to point out here, that not everyone will or can get down to 10 stone. And along the way you might realise that 10 stone is not that important. You might get to 11 stone and be perfectly happy. But, losing 3 stone gives you a good starting point.

So, we’ve got specific, measurable, achievable. Next step, is it realistic, relevant.

Yes, it’s realistic, and relevant, you want to do it after all.

But, it’s not time focused. Yet.

A goal without a deadline is just a wish. So, let’s set a deadline. This goes back to realistic, and achievable.

You’re not going to lose 3 stone in a month.

So what would a realistic time-frame be?

3 months, 4 months, 5 months?

To be honest, when it comes to time-frame you want to make sure that it is achievable. So, over-estimate the time you’re going to need. It might feel a long way off, but it’s likely that you’ll be hitting that goal way ahead of schedule.

But, if not, the longer you give yourself the more room there is for tweaking your action plan.

So, for 3 stone, I’d say 6 months was a realistic time frame.

Ok, we have our long term fitness goal sorted...lose 3 stone in weight in six months.

But, you don’t want to leave it there.

Imagine working hard for six months thinking you’re on the right track, only to jump back on the scales and find out you’ve only lost a stone. Or, worse, a few pounds.

This is where your short term goals come in.

If you want to lose 3 stone in six months, you have to work out how much you need to lose each week….6 months is 26 weeks and 3 stone is 42 pounds. You’ll need to lose 1.6 pounds a week to hit your goal.

It’s likely at the beginning you’ll lose weight quiet easily, maybe even 2-3 pounds a week. But, as time goes on, that will slow down. So, make the most of the first few weeks.

There, you have your long-term and short-term fitness goals.

Lose a total of 3 stone in 6 months by losing 2 (rounding up for ease) pounds a week.

Is that it?

No. No it’s not. Not quite yet, as Little K would say.

How are you going to do it?

Short Term Fitness Goals: How Are You Going To Do It?

To achieve your goals you need an action plan. Short term fitness goals that will help you create healthy habits.

Next, you have to make your plan, your action plan.

More short term goals that you will work on weekly.

To lose weight you need to be in a calorie deficit. You do that by moving more and eating less.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to making changes in your it slowly one at a time, the other, do everything all at once.

Personally, I can see benefits of both ways.

Doing it slowly is much better for creating habits. You actually get into a habit, whether it’s a good habit or a bad habit, quite easily.

So if you concentrate on one thing at a time, it becomes a habit. And then you add in another.

I also find this a great way of making sure you lose weight consistently, because there is always something else you can change.

However, some people do better when they do everything all in one go. They make the most of that initial motivation. Make all of the changes they need to up front and work on making those a habit.

Either way is good, if it works for you.

For the purposes of this illustration, I’m going to take the slower road. It’s actually the road I take when I’m making any significant changes.

Move more and eat less.

An example of a goal

But, before we get into eating less, you need to look at your eating habits as they are today. Because the likelihood is, just a few changes will make a huge difference.

So, when you think about your diet, is there anything that you know you could cut down on? Think your classic junk food. That should be first to go.

For me, it’s chocolate and sweet stuff generally.

I don’t think you should cut out everything, because that’s not really sustainable. You need to have a bit of something you enjoy. A bit of something you look forward to. Otherwise life would be a boring.

So, let’s focus on cutting down, or finding healthier alternatives.

If you like your chocolate as well, have a pudding. A really nice pudding, but try and go for the rest of the day without.

If you take sugar in tea or coffee, cut down on that. One sugar at a time.

I used to have 2 sugars in coffee. I cut down to one for a few months until I got used to it, and then cut it out completely.

Do you drink a lot of soft drinks? The sugary kind I mean?

Try replacing at least some of them with water. Get down to just one sugary soft drink a day.

By the way, if you struggle changing to just water, try putting some mint, or fruit in it and leaving it to infuse for a little while. It really does taste good.

Do you have too much fast food?

Cut that down by one meal at a time.

Make a quick curry instead of ordering an Indian.

On to moving more…

Do it slowly. You don’t have to workout everyday from the very beginning. Doing something is better than doing nothing.

When would it be easy for you to work out? Start with once a week. Make that a habit and then add in another session.

Are your kids in school, or is there any other time in the week when they’re not with you? May they’re with grandparents or friends, or other family members. If they’re not yet, could they be?

That would be a great time to get in a workout.

Or, are there times of the day when they’re otherwise occupied?

Maybe they need some quiet time around lunch. Maybe they have a nap.

If it’s a regular occurrence, then your workouts can be pretty consistent. Focus on those times first of all.

Get a workout done then.

Once those times are all utilised….are there any activities you do on a regular basis that you could walk to?

Littles in a pram, older kids on a bike? And you running, speed walking with them.

Could you make that walk a little longer? Could you make the pram a little heavier?

During lockdown I used to take little K out everyday. She wasn’t walking fully at the time so she was in the pram and I pushed her up hills, down dales. I’d even put a 10 kilo kettlebell in the bottom of the pram to make it a little more difficult. Ok, it was a lot more difficult.

How about taking the kids to the playground and doing a workout while you’re pushing them on the swings?

How about playing games with them and turning them into a workout for you?

All really great ways to get a pretty decent workout into your week, on a regular basis.

And that’s the key, making all of this, all of these changes, part of a new lifestyle. Part of your healthy living lifestyle. Making them habits, rather than something you do to achieve your ultimate goal.

That is how you’re going to achieve long-term results. Making this new lifestyle part of who you are.

Short Term Fitness Goals: Examples of Short-Term Goals

Examples of short term goals for physical fitness...

So, now you know all about short term fitness goals and why small goals are just as, if not the most important fitness goal, let’s look at some examples.

Some different short term goals that you could work on, all designed to improve your overall health and physical fitness.

For the first one, let’s go back to the example above….

I will lose 3 stone in 6 months. I will focus on losing 2lb a week by working out for four hours a week and cutting my sweet treats down to just one a day.

How about trying your hand at running in a race?

I will run my first 5k race in 3 months. I will train for it using the couch to 5k app and going for a run on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning and I will do mobility work and stretching on a Sunday.

What about competing in a strength competition, like a strong woman competition?

I will compete in my first strong woman competition in six months. I will contact a personal trainer on Monday to talk about a fitness program geared around strength training. I can workout four times a week, on a Monday, and Friday morning and Tuesday and Thursday afternoon.

What if you’re thinking about something more general?

I will improve my current fitness level, reducing the time it takes me to walk up the hill to my daughter’s school. I want to do so I can run and play with my toddler without getting out of breath. I will do that by working out for 15 minutes every day in the morning before the little one gets up.

Short Term Fitness Goals: Let's Recap

Oh short term fitness goals. You’ve got love them, and you probably hate them a little bit.

They are a pain in the arse, but well worth the hassle. Giving you something to work towards helps you remember who you are. That you’re more than just mama, wife, housekeeper, taxi driver etc…

You’re successful. You’re hard working. You’re pretty damn awesome.

Short term goals are not only about helping you get to your long term goal. They’re about creating healthy habits.

Turning your goals, your wants and your wishes into a healthy lifestyle.

A lifestyle that will help you live longer and live happier.

Let me know what your short term fitness goals are...

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