The “Goal Pyramid” Is the Fitness Motivation You Didn’t Know You Needed

Photo: Getty/Witthaya Prasongsin
The term “slow and steady wins the race" may be slightly cliché (and was technically coined by a talking fairytale tortoise), but when it comes to setting fitness goals, it actually might be the best advice on the Internet.

Hear me out: This time of year, people are jumping head first into their harder-better-faster-stronger routines, only to peak by the third week of January and fully give up by February 1. While any trainer will tell you that setting goals is an important part of sticking with something, setting lofty, longterm ones without a clear path as to how you're going to achieve them is essentially setting yourself up for failure.

So instead of sprinting toward the finish line (whatever it may be) right out of the gate, approach your year-long goals with a one-step-at-a-time mindset. Case in point: In her new book The 6 Keys, Jillian Michaels introduces the world to the goal pyramid, which breaks your ultimate goal into easily achievable subsets so that you set yourself up for success.

"I always recommend a goal pyramid: You put your ultimate goal the top of the pyramid, then break it down into monthly, weekly, daily, and immediate goals,” says Michaels in our ReNew Year program. This makes it all very tangible, and helps to keep things from becoming overwhelming—it allows you to chart a road map to any and every goal. Start at the top, and work your way backwards. What is the ultimate goal? Is the goal 20 pushups? You have to have the goal in mind, and then figure out how best to get there, and you do that by breaking it down into phases.”

For example, if you want to run a half-marathon, instead of getting up on day one of training and expecting to run a breezy 13.1, work backwards to figure out what you’ll need to do on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis in order to properly prepare yourself for race day. With the help of a handy dandy visual, care of Michaels, you can print this out, fill it out, and hang it on your fridge for a daily reminder of what a (slow and steady) warrior you truly are.


Jillian Michaels Goal Pyramid
Source: Harmony Books | Graphic: Well + Good Creative

You've got your fitness goals on lock. Next up? Your career, skin-care, and healthy eating routines. 2019, here you come. 

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