How Many Miles To Run A Week For Weight Loss Using Process Goals to Improve Your Exercise Program

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Using Process Goals to Improve Your Exercise Program

One of the most important steps you can take in creating your exercise regimen is to set SMART goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. They are an excellent way to create the foundation for a successful, long-term exercise program. However, I have another suggestion when it comes to the goal setting process. Start with process targets instead result goals. You’re probably more familiar with outcome goals, which focus on specific accomplishments. For example, “lose 10 pounds in the next 8 weeks” is the ultimate goal. So is “running a 20-minute 5K road race until the end of the season.” Other examples of outcome goals include “lower your body fat percentage by 10% in the next 6 months” and “lower your LDL cholesterol by 20 points in the next year.”

Of course, the final goals are very important. When written using SMART criteria, they can give you a useful goal. However, my experience is that when people don’t reach their ultimate goals (which is common because many of us set unattainable goals), they become demoralized and give up on their exercise regimen. Process goals focus more on the implementation of your exercise program. For example, a good process goal would be “exercise 4 times this week for at least 30 minutes per workout.” You have more control over achieving this goal and it will help you get used to the exercise. Some other examples of effective process goals include the following:

* Walking 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

* Find a workout partner in the next 3 weeks.

* Buy a workout log and record your workouts every day.

* Run a total of 15 miles per week for the next 4 weeks.

* Get my old bike fixed and ride it twice a week for the next two months.

* Cycle 40 miles per week for the next 4 weeks.

* Swim 3 days a week for 30 minutes each workout.

* Measure my daily calorie intake and record it in my exercise diary for 14 days.

* Complete a fitness assessment within the next 30 days.

Process goals like these provide a very effective means of starting a training program. I’m not suggesting you avoid outcome goals. They have an important role and can be very useful especially for experienced exercisers and competitive athletes. I recommend just incorporating a few process goals.

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