As a new year begins the media eagerly offers solutions to all our health and well-being challenges. They provide options to help us achieve our long term and short term fitness goals.  You may notice headlines such as ‘drop a dress size in six weeks’ or ‘try the ‘XYZ’ diet to look 10 years younger’ all vying for your attention.  Health products and programs claiming big results are easily found at this time of the year. They all want to help you move past the excesses of the festive season and recreate yourself for the year ahead.

New year fitness goals

In the excitement of moving into a new year and making positive changes to your lifestyle I ask that you first recognize something. You are wonderful as the person you already are and that you don’t need a completely ‘new you’. Instead, think about some of the changes you will be able to make that will help you feel fitter and healthier and that will be sustainable in the long run.  Many ‘overhaul’ programs are simply not individualized, nor sustainable. This is because they don’t often consider the stages of change, thought, planning, preparation and support required for success.

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Start mapping out your personal fitness goals for the year by putting pen to paper. When we arrive at December 2018, what will you be able to look back at to tell yourself you’ve had a fantastic year and have made progress towards optimizing your health?  What will you be able to see, feel, or do?

Fitness goals examples

Do you want to:

Perhaps you don’t even KNOW what you want yet? In that case I’d recommend taking the FREE 12-question quiz to discover which area of your life you should focus on in 2018. Plus, receive resolution and goal ideas with your results

personal fitness goals-long term fitness goals-health and fitness goal setting

Set long term and short term fitness goals

short term fitness goals-new year fitnessTo focus on your new year fitness, set yourself:

  1. 1-3 long term fitness goals (6-12 months)
  2. Break each one down to medium term fitness goals (three months)
  3. Break these down to short term fitness goals (a short-term goal definition is usually around four weeks)
  4. Set weekly targets – one step at a time!
  5. Set daily habits and actions

Your long term fitness goals and short term fitness goals need to be SMARTE:  SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ACHIEVABLE, RELEVANT, TIME SPECIFIC and EXCITING (ENJOYABLE too!)

They should be stated positively, be things you have control over and be things that YOU want, not that others want.  You must have a clear understanding of WHY your goal is important to you.  If you have a strong emotional driver there will be a far greater likelihood of success.

A long term fitness goal example that includes the person’s ‘why’:

By the end of 2019 I will have completed my first 5 km fun run.  I will feel so proud to be able to show my children that consistency and dedication pay off.  The increased energy I will have will allow me to spend more quality time with my family, which I am so excited about

short term fitness goals-new year fitness

Example of short term goal

Good short term goals should be related to your long term goal. A short term goal definition is simply something that you want to achieve that will take you closer to your overall vision of success.

So if we take the above long term goal example, examples of short term goals related to this could be:

“By the end of February I will be able to jog non stop for two minutes”

Once you’ve set a short term goal like this (which clearly relates to your long term goal), set your targets for the month that will help ensure you reach your short term fitness goal.

For example: “Every week for the month of February I will complete two walk-jog sessions where I will jog for one minute and then walk for four minutes, repeated four times”.


“By the end of February I will have a good enough base fitness level so I can begin jogging in March”.

If this is your short term fitness goal, again you would then set the targets that will help you reach it. For example “I will achieve this goal by completing two cardio sessions and one leg strength session every week”.

Do you have your own example of short term goals you’d like to achieve in health and fitness now?

What to do with your long term and short term fitness goals once you’ve set them

Make your long term and short term fitness goals visual and put them in prominent places where you will be reminded of them (e.g. on your wall and fridge, and in your wallet). Then tell people about them – accountability is another factor that will contribute towards your success.

Not quite feeling like taking any major steps yet? Maybe you’re feeling a bit rough after a holiday food or alcohol binge? If so, I’ve put together some tips to help you feel better and get yourself on track.

Are you ready to set some epic health and fitness goals for the new year? If so, check out my review of this awesome goal planner to get you started.

I’d love for you to share your long term fitness goals examples for others to read. What do you want to achieve in terms of your health and fitness goals for 2018? Feel free to leave yours in the comment box below. Here’s to a great 2018!

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Also published on Medium.


  • Iraimi

    Great blog! I love the tips on setting long term and short term fitness goals.

    • Elly McGuinness

      Thanks for the comment Iraimi; I hope the tips are useful for you!

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