Well-defined fitness goal can be difference between success and failure

November 30, 2013

A well-defined fitness goal could be the difference between success and failure.

I firmly believe that you can increase your chances of success by 80 percent by simply taking the time to make a goal. However, goals are not just words; they have to be part of a larger system designed to succeed. Here are some things I’ve found to be true when writing goals for fitness programs.

Goals must be made

“Ideas are the beginning of all achievement.”

Everybody has ideas and dreams, but what separates successful people from those who sit by idle is having the guts to try to try, not knowing whether you will succeed or fail. Once you get over the fear and decide what you want to do, you have a goal worth working toward; now you will need a plan for success.

Goals must be specific

“If you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time.”

If you want to accomplish a goal, you must know exactly what you are trying to do. Once you’ve made your decision, you can get to work creating a plan for success. Think of it as shooting a gun without a target; chances are you won’t hit anything until you have a bull's-eye to aim at.

Goals must be attainable

“Arriving at one goal is the starting point of another.”

It’s important not to bite off more than you can chew when setting a goal. Pick something that can be done in a reasonable amount of time. You can always go back and set bigger goals later once you’ve accomplished what you originally set out to do. You might be surprised at where you end up if you first accomplish a series of smaller goals.

Mini goals lead to greater accomplishments

“Even a snail will eventually reach its destination.”

Patience is important when identifying a goal and working toward achieving it. Start slow and conquer one milestone at a time. It wouldn’t make sense for a person who is 200 pounds overweight to say he's going to run a marathon in a month’s time, because it’s not going to happen. Instead, he or she should make a series of smaller goals that lead to greater accomplishments, such as losing 25 pounds or being able to walk a mile without stopping. After a few smaller goals are realized, things that were once thought to be impossible may now be in sight.

Goals must be recorded

“When you sit down to write the first page of your screenplay, you're also writing your Oscar acceptance speech.”

Whenever I meet with new clients, one of the first things I have them do is make a list of things they want to accomplish. Making the commitment to write these personal thoughts on paper automatically makes a dream a possibility, and helps give the program a purpose and a measuring stick for future reference.

It’s also a great idea to post goals somewhere they can be seen every day to remind you of your dreams and keep you focused on what you are trying to accomplish.

So before starting any fitness plan, take the time to decide what you are trying to accomplish, and before you know it, you will be well on your way to achieving your goals.

  • Chris Antonio is a personal trainer and former world-class weightlifter. He has been lifting for more than 20 years and has trained a wide variety of clients ranging from All-American athletes to the average person trying to get into shape. To send a question to the Ask the Trainer column, email Chris at or check out

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