Fitness Goal Setting Tip – Don’t Fly Blind!

Photo credit: Flickr / stevenharris

I just learned a lesson in fitness goal setting.

For some reason I had forgotten how important it’s to track your progress toward your goal – and got reminded of it this week.

Like some of you may know, last October I set myself a goal of being able to do 10 consecutive military push ups by 31st May, 2012. I even had a plan on what I was going to do to reach my goal, but for some reason I forgot it’s equally important to track your progress toward the goal. (A really basic mistake!).

Because I had a rough few months at the end of the year, I had basically let my goal slide. – I did make several attempts to start training for the push ups last fall but I never seemed to get my act together. I think part of the problem was that I hated admitting I wasn’t doing very well, so every time I thought about having to do my push ups I just felt reluctant and a bit disgusted at myself.

Why It’s Important To Track Your Progress?

Luckily I didn’t give up on my goal and finally I decided to get my act together again. I did some thinking and came to the conclusion that the other part of the problem is that I wasn’t very motivated because I wasn’t seeing any progress. What is even worse, I feel ridiculous I’m still doing wall push ups (even though there’s a reason why I’m being so careful.)

I solved my problem simply by starting to count my reps and sets (I’m doing staggered sets like Marion suggested) and lo and behold: a week ago I was doing 13 repetitions per set, and today I’m able to do 20 repetitions per set. I AM actually getting better even though I’m nowhere near knee push ups!

So the answer to the question why it’s so important to track your progress is that if you’re flying blind, it’s difficult to know if you’re making progress or not. Tracking your goals is a way to keep yourself motivated. That is actually one reason pedometer walking is such an effective way to increase your physical activity – it offers a simple way to track your daily activity level.

Talk about re-learning old lessons! 🙂

Do you have a system in place for tracking your fitness goals?


  1. Marion says:

    Hi Satu! Congratulations on your improvement. That actually is quite a difference from when you began.

    This is just me, your annoying friend speaking, but I think you should be working out in the gym. I personally have no motivation to work out at my home–actually *less* than no motivation, negative motivation from rude comments coming out of the peanut gallery (aka teen children).

    At the gym, I get busy in the commotion and bustle of everyone else working out. It feels similar to turning on a bright light on a very dark morning. I think that would work better for you. You’d meet friends and have someone to grump about exercise to in person, like I do to all my gym buddies. And, you think that your gym has less friendly people, but I bet if I went to the local gym in Finland that I could find all kinds of kindred fitness spirits. We all have the same basic wants, needs, and gripes, so we should just do this fitness thing together. I think it takes a village to raise a fit person. 😀

    🙂 Marion

  2. Satu says:

    Getting motivated to work out at home doesn’t seem to be a problem to me – if I don’t train at home I won’t train in a gym either. Otherwise I don’t disagree about working out in a gym rather than at home – it would probably be good for me. We’ll see what happens this spring…I have a modest local gym I used to frequent years ago.

    I’m pretty sure though it would take me a couple of years to get in a talking relationship with anyone! 🙂

  3. Lori says:

    Sometimes you get so focused on the end result that you don’t see the progress. I have a record of all my workouts, so I can look s back and see what I was doing at any point.

    Great job on increasing your reps!

    • Satu says:

      You’re right about focusing on the end result. 🙂 Especially because my current level of performance feels so pitiful compared to the end result that I feel I’m never going to reach my goal.

  4. Yes, your right to set goals in exercise. Wishing you the best in setting and reaching those goals in 2012.

    • Satu says:

      Hi Robert! I hope you’ve set yourself some goals too. 🙂

  5. Marion says:

    Amber left you a reply on your comment on my “Psst…” post on my blog.

    🙂 Marion

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