16 Super Achievable Fitness Goals That You’ll Feel Awesome About

Basically all of our body-positive heroes talk about fitness like this: When you focus on what your body can do rather than the way it looks, you'll love it infinitely more. And that sounds awesome. But what if you feel like you can't really do…much of anything? And what if you're not exactly the type who's going to run a marathon or win an Olympic weight lifting competition?

Good news: You can get a huge sense of body-loving accomplishment from achieving much-less-complicated goals, and it doesn't require going all-in on an overly intense fitness plan.

"When setting an achievable goal, ditch the all or nothing thinking, because it rarely gets you where you want to be," NYC-based trainer Adam Sanford says. "Set your goals from a place of honesty and the realization that you are human. It’s not about creating a life of perfection, it’s about creating a life full of growth."

Sanford recommends starting with small, attainable goals that aren't complicated and that you won't get too distracted from (it's hard to find a legit excuse to not hold a plank for 45 seconds a day), and focusing on changing one specific fitness-related habit rather than promising you'll hit the gym six days a week.

We spoke to a handful of trainers to share their favorite totally-achievable fitness goals. Pick one, and love what your body is capable of.
1 of 16
Hold a plank
Trainer Adam Gray recommends making exercise that requires zero equipment part of your daily routine. Challenge yourself with a simple daily plank hold, starting with 30 seconds of kneeling on your forearms and toes and adding on 15-second increments daily. Soon you’ll easily be able to show off a 3-minute plank and hella strong abs.
Advertisement
2 of 16
Do a "real" push-up
“Push-ups sound like a simple exercise, but a lot of people really struggle with good form when it comes to push-ups,” Gray said. “Going back to plank position, on hands and toes (knees are also acceptable), lower yourself to the ground as slowly as possible. Once at the bottom, push yourself back to the top, or if needed, sit back in your heels and come back to the start.”
3 of 16
Improve your balance
How long can you hold your balance with one foot off the ground? “You’d be surprised how quickly balance fades when it’s not utilized,” Gray said. “Always remember, all the control is in your core.” Improve your balance every day by bending forward slightly at the waist, raising one leg back and lowering yourself into a single leg squat. “How many can you pump out before your balance falters and your glutes start burning?” Gray asks. Challenge yourself to up that number. (Don't forget to repeat on the other side.) If you really want to kick things up a notch, work toward a pistol squat.
4 of 16
Sleep a little more
Easiest thing you can do to boost your fitness routine? Get a good night’s sleep. Being tired makes it way easier to blow off the gym, not to mention its negative effects on our mood and ability to think clearly. One easy way to fall asleep faster: Flip that iPhone face down earlier in the evening.
5 of 16
Up your reps with days of the month
If it’s the first of the month, do one repetition of any given exercise. On the second, do two. On the third, do three… You get it. To kick off an easy routine, trainer Hollis Lotharius suggests starting with push-ups (on knees or toes), squats, alternating front lunges, alternating back lunges, glute bridges, straight leg raises and toe touches. For guidance, you can refer to Spotebi's exercise guide for women.
6 of 16
Document your fitness accomplishments
Keep a calendar near your bed, or wherever you exercise, to visually celebrate your exercise accomplishments, whether that’s mastering 10 push-ups in a row or running for 10 miles. “Even better, enlist a friend to document your accomplishments with you, and then you two can text each other when done. Accountability is powerful,” Lotharius said.
Advertisement
7 of 16
Move in your seat
Just because you’re desk bound most of the day doesn’t mean that you can’t sneak in a little fitness. Sanford recommends this quickie workout to challenge your glutes, hamstrings, and thighs while getting your heart rate up: Start sitting at the edge of your desk chair and set a timer for 45 seconds. While maintaining proper form and pressing your heels into the floor come to standing position, then tap your butt back on the seat — continue to squat for as many reps as you can in 45 seconds. Rest, and repeat three more times.
8 of 16
Take the stairs
If given the option of elevator or stairs, even (especially!) if it’s just a single flight, opt for the stairs. You can also use your office’s set of stairs or outdoor stairs as daily fitness equipment. Ellis suggests walking to the top of the stairs 2-3 times a day to benefit your lungs and lower body.
9 of 16
Commute on your feet
Challenge yourself to consistently choose walking when given the option of transportation methods, Sanford suggests. (If you have a commute that's too long to walk the whole way, consider getting off the train a few stops early, or parking 10-15 minutes away from the office.) Especially if you’re not already in a workout routine, this is an easy way to squeeze in fitness — and you can totally use the time to call your mom or catch up on your podcasts.
10 of 16
Change up your routine
If you’re too much of a fitness buff to start with simple lifestyle modifications, challenge yourself to a new type of exercise. If you’re used to bootcamps, try cycling; if you’re a runner, go for a weight lifting session. “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result, the same holds true for fitness,” trainer Lacey Stone says. “Make some changes and watch what happens.”
11 of 16
Increase your intensity
If you’re not into upping your reps, gradually increase the intensity of your workout load. “If you were giving it a five out of ten effort, give one or two of your weekly workouts everything you have,” Stone suggests. You can do this by increasing the duration of your workouts as well — if you’re used to running for 20 minutes, push for 30.
Advertisement
12 of 16
Perfect your form
"Most fitness instructors will tell you that they care more about your form than the number of reps you can complete," Ai Lee Syarief, Master Trainer at STRONG by Zumba® said. "If you're doing lunges incorrectly, your body won't reap the benefits from that exercise. Focus on your form and you'll see results in no time." Because it's hard to tell whether your own form is right, this is a great way to utilize that free personal training session your gym offers — sign up and come armed with specific questions.
13 of 16
Learn to run
If you feel like you can barely down the block, much less run a mile, you'll get crazy satisfaction out of doing a Couch-to-5K program that helps you work your way up to running a full 5K without stopping to rest. "These programs ease you in to running so slowly that you'll never have that 'I'm going to die' feeling — they intersperse a tiny bit of jogging with mostly walking at first, then increase the intervals," said Anna Maltby, Refinery29's deputy editor of health & wellness and an ACE-certified personal trainer.
14 of 16
Pick up a barbell
There's something so badass about lifting serious weights and slapping plates onto a barbell, whether you're deadlifting, squatting, or bench-pressing. "If you've never used a barbell, it can definitely feel intimidating, so sign up for a personal training session — make sure to ask your gym for someone who specializes in weight lifting — or take a beginner class, which you can find at many CrossFit gyms," Maltby says. The calluses are just a bonus.
15 of 16
Beef up your squat
If squats are already part of your routine, that's awesome — but are you going full-out or just dipping your butt back a little? "A truly effective squat involves a full range of motion, which means your butt ends up 'below parallel' — below knee-level," Maltby says. "It can feel a little unnatural at first if you're not used to squatting low, so work your way up by aiming for parallel at first, then gradually going lower." If you need a little help, holding on to the back of a sturdy chair will help you get more comfortable getting low.
16 of 16
Make commercial breaks a workout
Beat couch potato syndrome by hopping up off the sofa when commercials air and turning that time into a bonus workout. Do sit-ups during one commercial, push-ups for another, hold a squat during that annoyingly long pre-show Hulu ad — or break out your dumbbells while marathoning Scandal re-runs.
Advertisement