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How to Set Realistic Fitness Goals This Year

When a new year comes around the corner the gyms fill up with good intentioned fitness fans who eventually lose steam and stop going. This is mainly due to a lack of proper training knowledge, unavailable support, or just plain lack of motivation. Learn how to set realistic fitness goals this year and join a journey full of results you will be proud of.

How to Set Realistic Fitness Goals This Year

Approach Goals vs. Avoidance Goals

Starting an exercise program is an excellent step toward better health but if your effort is psychologically skewed it could manifest into failure. There are two directions one can take, ‘approach goals’ and ‘avoidance goals’. For example, you can say, “I’m going to work on my cardio for twenty minutes before I lift weights” or “I’m not going to go beyond twenty minutes on the elliptical.” Although these seem similar, it is the slight negativity in the second affirmation that could eventually keep you down.

These goals are described in a study by researchers from the Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, which stated, “Approach goals are associated with greater positive emotions, thoughts, and self-evaluations and greater psychological well-being. In contrast, avoidance goals are associated with fewer positive thoughts and greater negative emotions.”

Our nutrition and fitness consultants at AFT Coaching will assist you in the importance of a positive mindset throughout your process. They will review your goals, past experiences, and discuss the type of approach that specifically fits your schedule and needs. Don’t let avoidance goals push you off your path and instead learn how to embrace the approach goals that will reap so many more unexpected benefits.

Know Your Goal Trajectory

It is easy to get caught up in unrealistic goals as a result of what you are surrounded by, such as celebrity influencers or even other gym members you may want to emulate. This is not to say that you won’t get there, but it is important to remain grounded so you don’t become discouraged. Knowing your body and what it is capable of is one of the most important ways to set realistic fitness goals this year.

You can start your transformative fitness path by following some simple beginning steps to focus on your goal trajectory. These might include:

  • Choose Your Approach – List what you like and dislike when it comes to food and working out. For instance: Can you embrace a more plant-based diet or might you just want to cut back on unhealthy eating? Are you more interested in weight training or combining weight training with cardio and/or yoga and meditation?

  • Live or Online – Do you work better in an in-person solo or group setting or do you prefer an online or app approach instead?

  • Medical history – What are your parameters according to your medical history and how, if possible, might you be able to lessen any health obstacles. For instance: If you struggle with high blood pressure, do you (with your doctor’s support) want to take dietary and physical training steps to help minimize this condition?

  • Weight – Commit to losing or gaining weight that gets you to a healthy maintenance point.

By setting up a detailed approach to the overall picture of how you can attain realistic goals, you will be able to better envision how your path will look before you even begin.

A combined study by researchers from the University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy, University College London, and National University of Singapore looked at goal setting when apps were used. They found that “tailoring the goal difficulty to the users’ ability level and re-evaluating the goals based on achievements should be implemented to increase the quality of goal setting.”

Plan your goal trajectory toward better nutrition, fitness, and recovery by looking within and then determining how you can hit the ground running so you don’t burn out. Highly educated and experienced AFT consultants offer professional guidance in a unique coach/client relationship. This incorporates personalized exercise programming and nutrition coaching through human interaction and real world experience that significantly surpasses other fitness platforms.

Pick Your Location

Some people can become discouraged by the inability to access a location that fits their fitness needs. There are pros and cons to exercising in a gym/group setting compared to an in-home setup. Overall it is up to the comfort of each individual regarding what may be the best choice for optimal results.

Setting realistic fitness goals this year includes picking a location where you will do your best and, most importantly, maintain a continued fitness and nutrition protocol whether at the gym or in your home.

A study that looked at in-home training for weight loss by researchers at the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida found that “At 12 months, the home-based program showed superior performance to the group condition in exercise participation and treatment adherence; at 15 months, participants in the home program demonstrated significantly greater weight losses than those in the group program.”

As a comparison, researchers from the Department of Psychosocial Studies, Birkbeck College, University of London conducted a study of training in a gym which reported, “Based on a thematic analysis of 32 semi-structured interviews it is argued that a gym workout is a means to create better versions of the self on mainly three levels:

  • First, gym participants perceive themselves to be efficient and productive in general.

  • Second, gym training is believed to increase the control they have over their lives.

  • Third, gym members associate their gym workout with amplified emotional resilience, believing that fitness workout makes them not only fitter in a physical sense but also fitter and better equipped in a psychological sense.”

Some things to consider regarding an in-home workout vs. a gym workout:

Gym workout

  • Offers more socialization and group support if desired

  • Could require preparation and travel

  • Has more amenity options such as equipment, classes, and space

  • Cost could be a factor, especially if needing to lock into a contract

In-home workout

  • Enables more focus in a one-on-one setting (if virtual)

  • More schedule flexibility

  • Requires self-discipline

  • Workout space may be a challenge

  • Cost could be a factor if joining a virtual platform

Determine the best location that fits your needs so you don’t end up in a situation that compromises your time and finances. Once you decide on the best approach, then your full commitment can be implemented without any anxiety to go along with it.

AFT Gets the Job Done

Whether committing to a gym environment or an in-home setup, AFT Coaching can be by your side for the entire journey or help you find your groove and stay in the wings for updated maintenance. Either way, we get the job done according to your personal pace, abilities, and comfort level.

Every week your coach will track your progress and assess your feedback to adhere to a fluid protocol that molds with your development. You will always be moving forward rather than staying in the same place, getting stale, bored, or discouraged. When working in our coach/client relationship, communication is as easy as a phone call, text, email, Zoom meeting, and even uploaded photos/videos to our state-of-the-art app for your coach to review.

AFT is not your typical training program as we pride ourselves on consistent adherence. We don’t rely on offering you a quick fix but instead emphasize real results which, through patience and support, will get you where you need to go at a healthy pace. At AFT Coaching, we offer an individualized program that fits your personal mind and body training needs. It is a support system like no other to bring you to the next level of optimal health. Through fitness, nutrition, and optimism we will light that fire and keep it going when other attempts could not.


Our parent company, AF Training Solutions, was founded in 2008. Since then, we’ve grown into one of the largest personal training and coaching organizations in the country. Currently, we operate the fitness departments for about 100 health clubs across the United States. As an organization, we have always had two main areas of focus; the customer experience and company culture. Over the years, we have invested heavily in people, process, and technology to ensure that our customer experience is second to none.







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