The 3 Types of Fitness Goals You Need to Set


Jim Dolan is a psychotherapist and executive coach entering his 35th year in private practice. He has been a passionate runner, cyclist, triathlete and swimmer since his early 20s. He currently competes in Master's Swimming in freestyle sprints, and provides swim coaching to Dallas Aquatic Masters swim club. To learn more about Jim, visit his website.

If you’re reading this article, then it’s my guess you have some serious fitness goals for 2017 and are hoping to find practical tips on how to actually make them happen.

As a psychotherapist and executive coach with 35 years of experience, and as no stranger to big fitness goals myself, I have some tried-and-true tips that will make your goals a reality.

So let’s talk about how to set your goals, how to realize them—and why to do it in the first place.

The Lifetime Goal

When it comes to goal setting, you can categorize them in three distinct ways: lifetime, intermediate and daily. Each is related to the other, but they should all stand alone.

First, there is the lifetime goal, or as I like to call it, the “Wouldn’t it be nice?” goal. This goal is one for the ages, a goal so high on a mountaintop that you can see its outlines, but the idea of getting there makes your head spin. If you’re an elite athlete, this probably means going to the Olympic Games, winning a world championship, setting a world record or pitching a no-hitter.

It’s important that this lifetime goal be somewhat in line with where you actually are. If you can’t break 16 minutes for a two-mile run, it might be better to make your ultimate goal 12 minutes—not qualifying for the Olympics.

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