Sucessful Goal Setting

Sometimes I catch myself trying to set fitness goals and challenges for myself.

Bad Faith, you know better than that.

I’ve learned over the last…20+ years that setting specific fitness goals for myself DOES NOT WORK.

For me.

I rarely accomplish established goals and the few times I have actually followed through to the finish line (I can think of a 10 day online yoga challenge specifically), it wasn’t particularly enjoyable, nor did I necessarily move more or differently than I would have otherwise.

I’m not denying that I’ve tried to be that girl, I have tried hard to be that girl!  And truthfully it served me at different points in the past, especially if it was more in the vein of training (hello marathon 2009!) but more often then not I was a total goal failure.

So, I’m so over setting myself up for failure.

I’m re-framing my ideas of ‘goal-setting’ to suit me better at this point in my life, here are my current….intentions 🙂


  • more conscious workouts in my life, especially heart pumping ones.

I currently move a lot, between walking a few miles most days or riding my bike around town, gardening and lawn work, lots of cleaning, teaching 8-14 classes a week (only 2 of those are workouts for me, the others are mostly watching my students move but I am on my feet and demonstating a bit).  A real cardio workout is something different though, it clears my head and relieves stress like nothing else, especially a run on a gorgeous fall day.

  • more stretching in my life.

I’ve never been particularly flexible, especially for a dancer, and as the weather shifts and my years tick on I find that daily (or near daily) stretching makes me feel SO much better.

  • continue to listen to my body and base my workouts on what it needs.

These days I am all about Body-led Workouts. Setting super specific exercise goals (I Will Run 3x/week, I Will Do Pilates Everyday, I Will Plank 3x/week, etc.) always felt a bit incongruent with my emotional and physical needs.  Often times in the past setting specific goals set me up for disapppointment (like when I hurt my back and couldn’t complete my own plank challenge within my self-alloted schedule). Listening to my body and responding appropriately to what it tells me sets me up for pleasant surprises!  I did an awesome, HARD, sweaty Tabata workout last Thursday even though my original intention was just to do about 5 minutes of yoga.

Of course, somedays my body is telling me it doesn’t want to move at all.  On these days I usually talk myself into an easy walk or some gentle yoga, sometimes that leads into a more intense workout as my body and mind shake off the cobwebs but when I realize that I am truely fatigued then I embrace it and rest as much as possible the rest of the day.

  • dance more.

Anywhere, anytime, formally, informally, kitchen, club, dance studio, I will dance more, I need to dance more.


I am genuinely curious if you’ve found setting specific fitness goals successful in making you feel empowered and well, sucessful or if you too have experienced something similar to me; a nagging angst and a bit of a feeling of failure if sidelined by injury/illness/boredom/life.