Goal Setting & Motivation for Women Tips

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What are some ways to measure and track my health and fitness?

Get a Fitness Baseline

There are a variety of health fitness services available at health clubs. These services can be a great way to get a "fitness baseline."

Getting a baseline for things such as body fat, strength and flexibility can provide you with information that you can use to measure progress in your fitness routine. It can also help you set reasonable fitness goals. Here are some baseline numbers that you may want to consider getting before starting or re-vamping a fitness program:

  • Body fat percentages: Typically done using calipers and measurements
  • Cholesterol numbers: A simple blood screen will be performed
  • Blood pressure: Taken by using a blood pressure cuff
  • Flexibility measurements: The tests for this vary
  • Strength measurements: Usually done by recording maximum lifts
  • Cardiovascular endurance measurements: Often done by taking a treadmill or bike test while having vitals monitored
The majority of these "tests" can be given at a health club, so you may want to inquire about them at the desk if you can't find any literature on them at the facility. Things such as cholesterol tests and blood pressure can be measured by a physician as well.

These services are sometimes offered for free, while other times there may be a charge for them. Some health clubs will offer specials or promotions where the testing is done at no charge. Community health fairs and screenings are other places that you may find these tests offered.

How can I keep my workout routine interesting?

Challenge Yourself to Change It Up

Any fitness routine can become stale if done for too long a period of time. Things get boring and that can make you lose your motivation. Keep your program fresh by continuing to challenge yourself in a variety of ways. Here are some super tips for staying motivated and changing things up a bit:

  • Learn new exercises. Check out women's magazines for new ideas or keep an eye out in the health club for moves you have not tried before.
  • Add weight and do less repetitions for a change of pace or drop the weight and do extra sets.
  • Try out new fitness classes for a different atmosphere.
  • Keep an eye out for new ab exercise equipment or other types of gear. Using new props can challenge your muscles in different ways.
  • Join a "boot camp." Some places have them just for women.
  • Try out interval training to change up the routine. Bursts of cardiovascular exercise (such as jogging) mixed in with weight training can make the workout go more quickly.
  • Get out of the rut. If you find that you are using the same machines all the time, resolve to incorporate new ones. If you always walk on the treadmill, try out the elliptical trainer. Change things up -- you will be glad you did!

How can I create a plan for meeting my fitness goals?

Creating Fitness Goals

Why should you take the time to write down your fitness goals? Because it can help you reach them. In order to write them out, you will need to think through things such as how you can achieve your goals and what is a reasonable amount of progress is that you can expect over time. Comprehensive fitness programs at the health club often have this component, and some personal trainers do it as well.

So how can you get started? Try thinking about your end goal. Perhaps it is weight loss; or even being able to run a marathon. Then take a little time to develop a strategy for reaching it that works with your lifestyle. Try to outline some "benchmarks" for the goal so that you can chart your progress as you go.

Evaluating your progress along the way is a key feature of this type of program. If you are not meeting your benchmark goals, you may need to re-vamp the plan you originally came up with. Re-adjusting goals is a normal part of the process, and will help you see if your fitness program is practical.

You may want to start with just one fitness goal at a time. Try beginning with something manageable and see how it goes. Perhaps you may want to set a distance goal for your walking program, or begin doing some lower ab exercises to begin. Keeping the goals small at first will help you learn the process and build confidence as you go.

What are some good tips for sticking to a fitness program?

Sticking to a Fitness Program

Are you having difficulty sticking to a fitness program? Getting into a regular routine can be a challenge, but there are some time-tested solutions that will help you stay motivated and assist you in meeting your fitness goals. Choose from some of the following:

  • Team up. Having a "workout buddy" can keep you dedicated to a fitness routine. Find a running partner. Ask your sister to join a health club with you. Take a walk with your spouse every night after dinner. If you can team up with another person, you are less likely to take a pass on your workout.
  • Walk the dog. It may sound a little crazy at first, but getting into a good walking routine can not only help your health, but your dog's too!
  • Reward yourself. Set a goal for working out each week, and if you reach it, reward yourself with something small. You might try something like buying a book or going to see a movie. Try to keep the reward to non-food items.
  • Set small, reachable goals. Try not to discourage yourself by attempting to go all out. Strive for slow, steady improvement.
  • Be honest with yourself. Will you really work out when you get home from a long meeting or playing with your kids at the park? Try to make sure you schedule time for fitness when you have the energy.
  • Join a class. It can help to have a set time to work out. Try out something that interests you for extra motivation.
  • Just go. If you think about working out too much, you might talk yourself out of it.

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