How To Set And Achieve Better Health And Fitness Goals…For Good This Time!

If you want achieve your health and fitness goals, you’re going to need a clear, easy to follow and stick to recipe. A recipe to keep your organized and set you up for success.

But First….You have to define your health and fitness goals.

Step One: Ask yourself, what exactly are your health and fitness goals? No seriously, this seems like an easy question. And yet so very loaded. You want to lose 15 pounds. Why? By when? How are you going to go about it? Where will you start? What are the behaviors that will help you achieve that outcomeYou need a plan of action.

Fitness York Pa Gym

Except sometimes coming up with a do-able, sustainable plan of action is where we get stuck and quit before we even begin. Recently Strength Coach and Metabolic Specialist Ali Gilbert posted on Instagram, “Look at 2020 as the first 12 months of a lifelong journey. Not a 12 week crash.”

Perhaps that is where we often fail right off the bat. 

Step 2: Turn “Outcome Goals” Into “Behavior Goals”.

Usually when you ask someone about their fitness goals, most people start with the outcome(s) they want. For example… I want to lose 20 pounds…I want to look ripped…I want to wear the same size pants I wore in high school…I want to deadlift 2x my bodyweight.

Outcome goals describe how we want things to be at the finish line. Not the process that’s going to get you there.

Outcomes are affected by environmental things like your job, kids, family, school, etc. They’re also influenced by physical things like hormones, chronic illness, stress, age, sleep…you get the idea. You can’t always control your circumstances, but you can control what you do. That is why behavior goals are so important. They focus on the things you can control.

Behavior goals are a representation of your commitment to practice a particular set of actions or tasks as consistently or regularly as possible.

Here are a few examples of how we can turn outcome goals into behavior goals:

Outcome                                              Behavior

Lose 10 pounds.                                               Eat until satisfied instead of stuffed at each meal.

Lower blood sugar.                                          Eat fruit for dessert, instead of sweets 3x a week.

Squat more weight.                                          Squat 3x a week at various intensities.

Sleep 8 hours a night.                                       Create a calming bedtime routine.

Have a better relationship                                Have a date night once a week.

with partner.

Notice how both outcome and behavior goals are trackable, but behavior goals are usually more effective because they give you an action step to get you to the outcome.

So how can you set good behavior goals today?

Start by writing down one outcome you are looking for. From there, think about the skills you may need to get to that outcome goal. Next to each skill, write down the behavior you can do that will help build that skill. Actually follow through and do that behavior each day going forward.

Step 3: Turn “avoid goals” into “approach goals”.

No more junk food. No more soda. No more smoking.

“No more” or “avoid” goals seem simple and straight forward. Just don’t do it anymore. If only it were actually that easy. And telling yourself to stop doing something almost guarantees you’ll keep doing it. No one likes being told what to do, even from themselves. The moment someone argues for change, (even yourself) the automatic reaction for most people is to resist.

With that being said, an “approach goal” pulls you toward something you want. Something desirable. Approach goals focus on feeling good. About doing good for yourself.

Here are some examples of how you can turn “avoid” goals into “approach” goals. Take note to how “approach goals” are about adding and enjoying good stuff, rather than taking away bad stuff.

Avoid: Stop snacking on junk food.

Approach: Snack on cut up fruits and veggies prepared in advance.

Behavior: Fruits and veggie are good for me and this helps me get more of them in.

Avoid: Stop overeating when stressed or overwhelmed.

Approach: Stay “checked-in” while eating and practice eating slowly and breathing between bites.

Behavior: Feel calmer, enjoy meal time with your family more, and have better digestion.

Avoid: Stop drinking soda

Approach: Drink a glass of water with at least 3 meals per day.

Behavior: Less headaches and issues with constipation.

One more…

Avoid: Stop eating when I’m stressed out

Approach: Come with a list of stress relieving ideas. Choose something off the list when feeling stressed or anxious.

Behavior: Feel calmer and more at peace knowing in advance how to deal with stress.

You get the idea. So how can you set strong “approach goals” today?

Start by writing down a bad habit you want to kick or avoid. From there, write down a good habit or two you can use to replace the bad habit. Identify how this approach goal is going to help you…find what works, and then repeat!

To recap:

Take an honest look at your goals. Think about them. Write them down. Review them. Decide which are outcome, avoid, or behavior goals.

Consider the skills you need to do what you want. New outcomes need new goals. How does the saying going? Doing the same thing over and over, even though it isn’t working is insanity? If you want a new outcome you have to be willing to try something new. You have to figure out which skills you need to build and how to build them. (Hint hint, sometimes a coach is a great resource in this department!)

Turn outcomes into behavors. Once you know the skills you’re going to need to reach your goals, break them down into habits or actions you can complete and practice with purpose daily.

Focus on what you can do, rather than what you can not do. “Don’t do X” is not an action plan. “Do more Y” is. When it’s possible always work towards the good stuff that leads to pleasure, enjoyment, benefits, learning and satisfaction. 

Enjoy the journey. Choose the behaviors you’ll find enjoyment in. Experience the daily zen of doing something for its own sake. Try, tweak, adjust, improve, practice, become a master.

Want some help?

Even when you learn to set excellent goals, big changes can feel especially challenging. At FCG, we strive to make the process easier, less stressful, more manageable, and most important…more fun. Women and men in our Habit Based Nutrition Program learn how to focus on what’s working for the,, and how to achieve their goals in sustainable long term ways.  Visit for more information.


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