Resolve To Achieve Your Goal

As anyone who's ever made a New Year's resolution knows, there's a big difference between setting a goal and attaining exactly what you had in mind on January 1st. Motivation plays a big role, of course, but it's not entirely to blame for many failed attempts. Perhaps a larger roadblock to success is setting expectations too high.

Growing up, you're encouraged to reach for the stars. Anything is possible if you set your sights on making it happen. While this hopeful ideal can help foster confidence in young children, it isn't necessarily the best platform for establishing New Year's diet and fitness goals. You'll want to avoid falling into these two common traps when you decide to make a major lifestyle change.

The first rule of goal setting is to remain realistic. Don't demand more from yourself than you're capable of achieving. For example, it's totally unrealistic to expect to compete in next month's marathon if you've been relatively inactive for years. More than likely, you wouldn't even be able to finish. Running 42.195 Km (26 miles and 385 yards) is a challenge that needs to be worked up to gradually, which brings us to the other most common goal setting pitfall.

While there's nothing wrong with having one major goal, getting there is best accomplished by meeting a number of much easier to achieve benchmarks. For the previously mentioned marathon competition goal you might set a first week benchmark of running 3 miles without stopping. Maybe you try to double that over the following couple weeks. Many trainers suggest that newbie marathon participants train for at least 4 to 6 months before attempting to finish one of these notoriously demanding contests. You'll know you're close to being ready when you can consistently run 20 miles a day. That's a benchmark you should place at the far end of your mini-goal path to success.

Now let's shift gears and imagine that your goal is to bench press 50 more pounds than you're currently managing. One short-term approach might be to slap on a pair of 1 pound plates (or changing the arrangement so you're increasing resistance by the equivalent of 2 pounds) at the start of each weekly training cycle. That's a very manageable benchmark, and will get you to the 50 pound end result in 25 weeks.

There are plenty of lifters who'd lose patience with this simple technique and want to go a lot heavier much faster. Keep in mind that each muscle group typically requires 48 hours for adequate recovery. So working the bench press more than 3 times a week is unrealistic. Remember the principle of progressive resistance. If 2 pounds per week isn't enough, you can try doing 4 more. Just don't go pulling a muscle and setting yourself back attempting huge poundage increases with every trip to the gym.

Everyone's idea of progress is different, just as your personal vision of fitness might not be the same as the person training next to you. That's why we developed a free workout planning web site that divides suggested workouts into beginner, intermediate and advanced stages specifically for male and female adults. In addition to these wide-ranging routines, MyFreeTrainer.com offers pre- and post-workout tips along with detailed instructions on performing all of the recommended exercises. Numerous video clips show how to do them all while maintaining textbook form. Drawing on this free knowledge base of resistance training information can help you map out a series of short-term stepping stones as your path to getting where you really want to be.
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