Set Goals to Build Your Walking Habit

Walking Towards Your Goals
Walking Towards Your Goals. Ryan McVay/Stockbyte/Getty Images

It is time to commit yourself to better health, fitness, and a body you love. To make this a reality, we have tools you can use to help you build and keep your walking habit.

There are four facets to setting up a new habit for a lifetime.

  • First, set clear and realistic goals.
  • Second, keep yourself on a schedule so that the habit sticks.
  • Third, monitor your progress and reward yourself for success.
  • Fourth, keep it interesting.

    How to Set Great Fitness Goals

    The essentials of a good fitness goal are:

    • Realistic: The goal should be challenging, but realistically achievable. Don't set you sights too low, but also don't set yourself up for failure.
    • Measurable: Your goal should be stated in a way that can be measured. How many miles a week? How many pounds or inches to lose? What 10K distance time? Finishing a marathon by what date?
    • Dated: Set dates by which you will attain the goal and intermediate goals along the way.
    • Written down: Your goal should be made concrete so you can review it.
    • Track your progress: Keep your goal in sight and see what steps you are making towards attaining it.
    • Celebrate success: Along the way when you reach new milestones, it is time to celebrate. And when you achieve your overall goals, don't hold back - reward yourself.

    Setting Realistic and Measurable Goals

    You will have to know how fit you are now and what is possible.

    For weight loss, do not set a goal of losing more than 1-2 pounds a week or 5-10 pounds a month, and plan for plateaus along the way. For increasing speed and distance, plan for increasing no more than 10-15% a week in order to prevent injury and allow muscles to repair and build.

    Dating Your Goals

    One of the best ways to set a date in concrete is to apply it to a major walking event.

    If you want to be able to walk a certain distance or have a speed goal, find an upcoming walking event and register for it.  Not only will this make the goal concrete, it will also reward you for attaining it, especially if you register for an event at a great destination you've been wanting to visit.

    Writing Down Your Goals

    • You can note your goal on your paper or online calendar. On a paper calendar, this can be a simple note on the date. With an online calendar, set an automatic repeating reminder so you will be prompted to record your progress towards your goal.
    • Your fitness tracker may have goal setting built into its app or online dashboard, such as with Fitbit. Take advantage of this function and use it to set and track your goals.
    • You may prefer to use a goal-setting app, which will guide you so you create a good goal and then will be a single place to track your progress.

    Track Your Progress

    You can use the methods just listed to track your progress. We also have printable daily, weekly and monthly logs you can use for tracking your walking, fitness, and weight loss activities. 

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