Hey, remember January? It was a long time ago, but you probably set some goals for what you’d like to achieve this year. (Memory failing you? Maybe you contributed to our fitness goals discussion here.)
Now it’s November, and a great time to revisit those goals. Not because you need to hold yourself to arbitrary deadlines, but to see how you’ve changed as a person in the last ten months. For example, here are mine:
Increase from 2 pull-ups to 10. I hit 10 sometime this summer.
100 pound (45kg) bench press. Got there in January.
Pull a two-plate deadlift (100kg). I got there this summer.
Wow, I’m such a beast. So far, so good. But then:
Beat my best-ever 5K time. I didn’t even run a 5K.
Run a half marathon, ideally under two hours. I ran a half this spring in 2:05, so that’s a partial win. But I won’t beat my time because I have no interest in running another.
By November, be able to barbell squat my bodyweight for a number of reps equal to my age—reddit’s infamous “birthday squats.” I can probably do a bodyweight squat for sets of 5-10, so with a few breaks for rest this would be a tough but doable workout. But... why? My birthday this year falls shortly after a powerlifting meet. I should be focusing on recovery.
I find these goals to be a fascinating time capsule, and even if you didn’t set down specific goals in writing, I encourage you to compare yourself now to where you were almost a year ago. What did you achieve easily that you thought would be hard? What turned out to be unimportant? What was harder than you expected, and what did you learn from the experience?
With that in mind, 2019 isn’t over yet. We have two good months, and I’ve found (personally) that two months is the sweet spot for setting fitness goals. You’ll have a sense of what kind of progress you can actually expect, and you can count off the days you have available to work on it. You can take on an eight-week training program for running or anything else you like (couch to 5K is nine weeks, so you could graduate in January).
You could sign up for a competition, official or otherwise, and see if you can beat your current time or your current lifts. You could even print out a blank calendar, just the November and December pages, and give yourself a goal of X’ing out a certain number of workout days. Or if your initial goal is still a good one, you can make a final push to end the year strong.
After all, a year-long goal is a big dream; a two-month goal is a thing you can plan. Learn from the person you’ve been for the past ten months to spend the next two on something you’ll actually achieve and enjoy.