New Year’s Resolutions, How to Develop Fitness Goals into Good Ones

K-State Research and Extension Southwind District Agent Joy Miller


620-223-3720 or [email protected]



Just rattle off how many pounds you want to lose, what pant size you want to wear, how much weight you want to squat, or the date you need to look photo-ready and you are on your way. That is how most people set goals. Typical resolutions and goals often lead to feeling lost, confused, overwhelmed, and crushed by ‘should’. Continue reading for tips on how to create your 2020 blue print to build the skills you need to reach your goal this year.

When someone is asked about their fitness goals, most people start with the outcome(s) they want: lose 20 pounds, six pack abs, binge less often, bench press a certain amount of weight. Outcome goals describe how we want things to be at the end of the process. There is nothing wrong with starting with the end in mind but we may not have control on how things turn out.

Set a behavior goal to focus on the things you do have control over. They represent your commitment to practice a particular set of actions or tasks every day, as consistently and regularly as possible. Examples: Lose weight (outcome), eat until satisfied instead of stuffed at each meal (behavior). Squat more weight (outcome), squat 3 times a week at various intensities (behavior). Want a better relationship with a partner (outcome), have a date night once a week (behavior).

Both outcome and behavior goals are trackable. Behavior goals are usually more effective because they give you something to do and track each day.

Avoidance goals, you know the ones-stop drinking soda, absolutely no sugar, stop smoking. Avoid goals are nice and straightforward, seems logical they would push you away from something bad or something that threatens what you want to achieve. This type of goal is a lot of psychological work, taking up mental and emotional real estate and energy. All you think about is what you are not doing or shouldn’t do but really want to do.

Turn avoidance goals into approach goals. Approach goals pull you toward something desirable, focus on feeling good or about doing good for ourselves. Revisiting the stop drinking soda (avoid) an approach solution could be drink a glass of water with meals each day, the benefit may be headaches are gone.

Performance goals are similar to outcome goals and usually associated with external validation such as wanting to get good grades or win a competition. Performance goals can be fun for a while, pushing yourself to be your best. It can also be demotivating if they don’t work out. Just like outcome goals, performance goals are often limited by factors outside your control. Performance goals also put our happiness and satisfaction in the hands of someone or something else. This may be pleasing a coach or parent, beating a competitor, social media likes, etc.

Instead of setting performance goals, create mastery goals that emphasize the process of getting a little bit better each day at a particular skill. Mastery is gratifying because no matter what others think or do, you can still feel good about your own personal progression. Mastery goals involve words like ‘work on’, ‘build’, and ‘practice’.

To help with your health and fitness goals this year, visit for upcoming programs such as Stay Strong Stay Health and Walk Kansas. The Southwind District has other upcoming events and resources to help you work toward your goals of health, finance, and overall well-being.

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