Health and Fitness

Sports Psychology: It’s Not Just for Athletes

Losing weight. Getting toned. Completely changing your lifestyle. It’s all so easy, right?

All you need to do is follow a few simple steps

  1.       Set ambitious, yet realistic goals
  2.       Bring a positive attitude to each Pilates or fitness session
  3.       Maintain a healthy mindset
  4.       Hold yourself accountable to the high standards you’ve set for yourself, and
  5.       Physically give 100% to every Pilates class or fitness activity you participate in.

Think that sounds easy?

You’re not alone! It’s tough.

The good news is that 4 out of these 5 techniques for changing your life for the better are “in your head” – and there are simple and realistic ways to break them down so you can be successful in your fitness journey.

Through elite sport, I’ve learned to never underestimate the importance of setting goals. They work to give you something to aim towards in the long term, as well as something to keep you motivated in the short term. Sticking to these steps is important for measuring your progress, and keeping you on track.



There are two broad categories of goals you can set.

Quantitative goals, ie those you can measure, such as achieving a target weight on the scales or a centimetre measurement off your waist, time spent working out, cholesterol levels etc. You’re probably familiar with the SMART goals approach, which can really make your goal-setting effective for these types of goals, ensuring they are as specific as possible, easily measurable, realistic and attainable and work to a particular time-frame.

Qualitative goals, are felt more than measured, relying on the satisfaction and worth they create, emotionally or intellectually, such as running a half marathon that you may not have been able to complete previously, and the feelings, social aspects, and daily habits integrated into your life to support that goal. These are often the WHYs behind your goals ie “I want to achieve this so I can feel like that”.

The benefit of combining these types of goals is that it allows a degree of versatility in tracking your progress. For example, choosing an achievable goal weight on the scales combined with taking a ‘before’ photo would give you more than one way to measure progress. When you check your progress and you see your ‘after’ photo looks better, but your weight hasn’t changed, you have achieved your qualitative goal and your progress toward your quantitative goal is trending in the right direction.

Adding to these two categories of goals, there are short, medium and long-term goals. Having goals of different duration will make it much easier to stay on track and keep yourself driven and accountable.

I once had a client whose long-term goal was to be able to play on a rope swing with her young sons when they went on their annual holiday. She utilised qualitative and quantitative goals of different durations in order to track her progress and maintain her accountability in her pursuit of her ultimate, long-term goal, as illustrated below.

Just last year, with a smile from ear to ear, she brought in photos of her on the swing with her sons on their holiday.

“Chunking” your goals into smaller steps is as easy as knowing what your desired result is, both qualitative and quantitative – then writing it down, and working backwards to break it down into what you aim to achieve in the short, medium and long terms. Stepping yourself through a series of mini goals helps set you up for success, ticking off your milestones along the way to your major goal.

Taking note of your goals is powerful! And this simple tool will ensure you bring confidence, a positive attitude, accountability and 100% effort to every major goal you focus on. Try it with your fitness journey. It really is easy.

About the Author – Studio Pilates Instructor Stuart Rech

Studio Pilates instructor, Stuart Rech, combines his experience in the health and fitness industry with more than 10 years as a national level, elite swimmer. He now devotes his time to ensuring his clients are the best people they can be, both physically and mentally.