One of the best things you can do on your health and fitness journey is to set goals that will work for you, not against you. Aesthetic goals (goals based on the way you look) can be a fantastic way to get started if you need some motivation or something to work towards. The only issue is that these types of goals can let you down in the long run!!
One of the reasons aesthetic goals only get you so far, is because motivation dies off as your progress starts to slow down! The thing about progress is that it's never linear, meaning that at one point or another you'll hit a plateau and your results will slow down a little (this is totally normal and not something to stress about, but it can definitely be disheartening). When you focus purely on the way you look, its likely that motivation will disappear when your results slow down. Relying on physical changes in your appearance for motivation can be quite inconsistent if it's all you're using to keep you going.
Another reason why it can be hard to rely on aesthetics as a measure of progress is because your body and appearance will naturally fluctuate. Weighing yourself or taking measurements can be a fantastic way to track progress, BUT- if you fail to account for things like bloating and natural weight fluctuations after meals or at certain times of the month, it can seem like you aren't making any progress. This then leaves you back at square one feeing demotivated.
One of the hardest things we can face when chasing an aesthetic goals is the tendency to compare ourselves to others. When you only focus on how you look, it can be very easy to look at others around you and get stuck in comparison, convincing yourself you're not good enough, skinny enough, lean enough, muscular enough. Not only is this demotivating, but it can be damaging to your mental health and can definitely lead to more severe consequences.
Something I recommend to all my clients, to help them avoid all of the above, is to set a performance based goal (or multiple) to keep them motivated when aesthetic goals may fail them. Performance based goals are those that relate to your strength, fitness, speed, power, or general improvements in training. They move away from more traditional goals like weight-loss, muscle gain or fat-loss; and more towards what your body is capable of doing and the way that training makes you feel! To set performance based goals, I usually recommend looking at your current training and thinking about what kinds of progress you might like to make! It could be something like running your first kilometre without stopping, deadlifting your bodyweight, mastering a new exercise or improving on your 5k time. Whatever your goal is, I usually encourage that you break it down into smaller steps and make a plan to keep yourself on track and stay motivated!
Need help setting some goals?? Reach out!