The Case of the Dumb Fitness Goals

FFitness goals have an air of seriousness, especially in the age of social media. Your feed might be full of people running a marathon across states to raise money for a great cause, or trying to do heavy squats to win a CrossFit competition. While these goals are gritty (scratch that, really cool), not every goal has to be a shot at the moon. There’s something to be said for mastering the art of the more, shall we say, frivolous physical goal.

This type of goal is a goal that is not necessarily for your health or geared toward a major event like a race. Instead, prioritize fun movement styles that just make you feel good and that you decide to do…just because. These goals give you something simple and satisfying to check off your daily, weekly, or monthly to-do list.

Just ask Alison Mead, an ultramarathoner who’s been running at least one continuous mile a day for four years. She is someone who loves to write down weekly goals and habit-building checklists that help her celebrate the small victories. In addition to running every day, she adds other small fitness activities, like 10 burpees, a 30-second plank, or walks with coworkers.

“Every month, I like to pick something that I can focus on for variety,” she says. “(Setting goals) gives me a purpose for when I go to exercise. I know what I want to achieve and I know when I’m done.” Plus, she gives him a sense of accomplishment at the end: “Reviewing everything I’ve accomplished (is) very rewarding.”

The benefits of ‘just because’ fitness goals

SLT instructor Jess Paris, NASM-CPT, agrees that not every moment of your fitness regimen needs to be purposeful with a capital “P.” “I think there may be people who hold back from setting goals because the idea of ​​a goal is too intense or too scary for them. But a goal need not have a goal or a finite measure of anything. Instead, it could be translated as intentions, routines, or lifestyle changes,” he says.

For example, a just-for-fun fitness goal might be something like: I’m going to go for a brisk walk in at least two neighborhood parks by the end of the week. Or I’m going for a bike ride until I see at least three cute dogs.

Although it will not be a enormous Too bad if you don’t achieve this kind of goal, marking it on your to-do list will give you that wonderful “I did it!” feeling if you make it true. In the long run, sticking to these mini wins can teach you how to stay consistent for when bigger opportunities come your way (think: triathlons or awesome hikes).

“They teach consistency and routine, which is a lot about maintaining an exercise regimen and how you’ll see and feel progress,” says Paris. “If you make it a habit to set aside time every day to achieve the silly goal, then you’re more likely to stick with that mindset when looking to create a fitness routine.”

This feeling of “I did it!” it also benefits you psychologically, according to positive psychiatrist Samantha Boardman, MD. When you create a goal that adds something to your life—for example, a little pickleball-induced serotonin boost—checking it off can highlight your strengths and make you feel good about yourself.

“We constantly focus on what is wrong. For example, if someone were to ask a person that question, it’s easy for them to think of 20 things (that need to improve) and focus on that,” Dr. Boardman said on a recent episode of The Well+Good Podcast. . “But less available to us is, ‘What are our strengths?’ and ‘What are we good at?’ And from there, ‘How can we make good use of our strengths to navigate towards a goal?’”

Along the way of pursuing seemingly inconsequential goals, you’ll learn how much you can physically accomplish in a month. “I love exercise because it’s easy to measure,” Jade Morning, Alo Moves yoga instructor. You may have a new client who, at the beginning of the month, can’t do push-ups, for example. “But after setting a goal, creating a plan, and following it for about a month, now my client can do five,” she explains. In other words, a silly fitness goal can amount to something that is far silly. And that’s why it’s worth doing.

“Goals spice up your exercise routine,” Morning says. “I currently have a goal of doing the splits, not because it’s necessary for my training or training, but because it’s something small that I can work on weekly. There’s so much power in the journey.” Along the way, you might even discover that you have a “serious” fitness goal, like a deadlift PR or learning to rock climb, in your future.

How to get the most out of dumb fitness goals

Dummy targets are the physical equivalent of a blank canvas, so you really can’t go wrong. Commit to dancing to your favorite song every day at exactly 1 pm Decide that you will cover all walks under five miles in your city. Make up your mind to swim every weekend this summer.

Remember: These goals are additive. That is, you are not subtracting anything from your life. Instead, you are adding behavior that promotes joy. “When we plan for joy, when we schedule joy, and when we think about it in advance, it allows us to make sure that those good things actually happen,” joy expert Ingrid Fetell Lee previously told Well+Good.

However, Paris does point out that any goal that depends on a daily commitment requires a conscious approach. Ask yourself: Am I taking care of myself? Am I resting enough? it’s me enjoying my goals? “There is a possibility that you become too obsessed with the goal and do not rest when you should. Or, on the other hand, you stick to the mile a day without thinking about how to progress and improve your fitness beyond the mile,” she says.

Be sure to schedule time in your monthly goal setting to reflect on what you are getting out of your movement. And what it is, well, it’s not fun anymore. The beauty of just-for-fun fitness goals is that if they get you excited, that’s great; if they are not, there is nothing wrong with letting them go.

How about committing to learning a new dance style every month?

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