The Ten Principles of Goal Setting: COVID-19 Edition

We’re coming up on that time of the year when fitness goals are set and resolutions are made. No matter that 80% of New Year’s resolutions are abandoned by February, we still find ourselves renewing our unused gym memberships or googling the most painless, delicious, quick-results diets on the market. With COVID-19 closing gyms and making grocery shopping significantly less fun than it already was, a lot of us are searching for ways to better ourselves while being stuck at home. Our homes have transformed into schools and workplaces, why can’t they be fitness clubs, too? Today we’re offering Mental Fitness’ 10 Principles of Goal Setting in the context of making the most of what we have available to us. Let’s get into it!


  1. Find a Cause – This can be as simple as wanting to lose a few pounds or wanting to look your best when quarantine finally ends. Finding your “why” lays the groundwork for a strong goal, so think about what is you want to accomplish and why.
  2. Commit, Then Figure it Out – The stars won’t align and the perfect conditions are unlikely. Set your goal, use the tools you currently have and go from there. Don’t wait for the gear you ordered to show up, do body-weight exercises in the meantime or hold cookbooks to make them a little harder.
  3. Skin-in-the-game – Setting a goal is easy, the hard part is sticking to it! A good way to stay invested is putting some of your hard-earned money towards achieving that goal! If you’re looking for something more temporary while the world is closed, buy used! It’s better for the environment and costs significantly less, so head over to Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist to build a home gym.
  4. Positive Self-Sabotage – The word “sabotage” carries a negative connotation, but today we’re using it as a way to hinder ourselves from making negative choices and pushing ourselves towards the better ones. If you’re trying to eat healthier, throw away the chips and cookies or refuse to hit snooze in the morning.
  5. Seek Support – Despite what society has led us to believe, asking for help is not a weakness! Our family, friends, mentors, coworkers, etc. make us stronger! Consider asking a family member to join you for your morning workouts or asking a friend to join you in cooking a healthy meal via Zoom once a week.
  6. Make it Measurable – If we’re unable to measure our goals, how will we know if we’re progressing? If you have a FitBit or Apple Watch, that’s a great, easy way to keep track! If you don’t, aim to workout for a specific amount of time every day (30 minutes) or eat a specific amount of fruits and veggies each day (4 cups).
  7. Accountability – We are significantly more likely to stay on course with our goals if other people know about them. Most of us are less likely to give up when held accountable by others than if we were just holding ourselves accountable. Making others aware of your goals and even updating them on your progress will make you that much more likely to succeed.
  8. Routine, Routine, Routine – In order to create the lifestyle that we want, we have to follow routines and form daily habits. Unfortunately, that means getting up early to exercise before work even when you don’t want to or taking the extra time to make something healthy for dinner even when ordering pizza is a lot easier.
  9. Time Bound – It’s important to create an end-date that we hope to accomplish our goals by, as the absence of a schedule can be discouraging. While the end of COVID is a deadline (one that we’re all excited for), it’s not a concrete one. Instead, challenge yourself to meet your goal by the spring or summer!
  10. Stay Determined – This final step is for those days that giving up would be easier – if it were easy, everyone would do it! Remember that just because one day’s really hard, doesn’t mean every single one will be, so keep grinding.

Tyler’s Bonus Tip – Success is rarely born from perfection. Just because you failed to stick to your diet for one day or couldn’t motivate for the workout that morning doesn’t mean you failed your goal. Make your comeback stronger than your setback and make the next day that much better!


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