Setting goals can be a great motivator in many aspects of life. In body confidence, however, focusing on these goals can make a huge difference. If we orient our targets towards a specific aesthetic or ideal look, we risk falling into comparison and dissatisfaction. But when we set realistic goals to improve functionality and wellness, we foster a healthier relationship with our bodies, boosting our confidence and self-esteem.
Rather than striving for an ideal body size, shape, or weight, realistic goals include increasing physical strength, enhancing flexibility, improving endurance, or cultivating better nutrition habits. These goals acknowledge the amazing things our bodies can do rather than reducing them to their appearance.
Take the example of setting a goal to run a 5k race. This aim doesn’t focus on the body’s appearance but on its ability to endure and perform. As you train and work towards that goal, you learn to appreciate the power and resilience of your body, regardless of its size or shape. Accomplishing the goal then brings a sense of achievement and a confidence boost, reaffirming that your body is capable and strong.
Ellen Satter, a renowned dietitian, and author, promotes the idea of “competence” over “perfection.” In her book, “Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family,” she writes, “Work on the assumption that you are already a competent eater and exerciser. You are. Your job is to nurture what is already there.” This nurturing comes from setting realistic goals that respect our bodies as they are.
Setting realistic goals also requires us to be kind to ourselves, to understand that progress is a process and that there will be ups and downs. This compassionate approach aligns with the body confidence journey, reminding us that it’s not a linear path but one filled with peaks, valleys, and detours.
So, instead of setting aesthetic-focused goals often influenced by societal expectations or unrealistic standards, try to center your aims around functionality, wellness, and individual abilities. Set a goal to drink more water daily, improve your yoga poses, hike a challenging trail, or eat more servings of vegetables. These wellness-focused targets acknowledge our bodies’ vital role in our daily lives, which can lead to a profound appreciation and confidence in our bodies.
If you’ve set fitness goals, how have they been oriented? What’s your experience? Did it affect your relationship with your body? Let’s continue this conversation below!