Instead of a weight-loss goal, consider performance goals, which may help you stay more motivated to exercise not just this year, but for the rest of your life. Getting leaner and stronger is a byproduct of achieving these performance goals.
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2015-01-02-iStock_000042279510Small.jpgSource: Istockphoto

By Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT

As the New Year begins, millions of people create the goal, "I want to lose X pounds this year." From my observation, weight loss goals are surprisingly ineffective for sustaining exercise motivation over the long term.

Instead of a weight-loss goal, consider performance goals, which may help you stay more motivated to exercise not just this year, but for the rest of your life. Getting leaner and stronger is a byproduct of achieving these performance goals.

Here are 10 fitness resolution ideas that are based on improving your strength, conditioning, and flexibility. Some of these fitness goals are very difficult, so you can scale them to your fitness level.

I hope you give one, or more a try this year:

1. 10 Pull-Ups

A pull-up is an excellent marker of upper body pulling strength, especially in relation to your own bodyweight. Completing 10 perfect pull-up reps from a dead hang to chin-over-bar is a noteworthy goal. Losing body fat without losing muscle certainly helps make this goal easier. If you can already do 10 pull-ups, consider 15, or 20 pull-ups, or using a weighted vest for a specified number of reps. Ladies who are not able to do any pull-ups can consider one, or three pull-ups.

2. One-Arm Push-Up

If you want to take your push-up strength to the next level, the one-arm push-up is an excellent exercise to consider. The one-arm push-up demands significant muscle tension only using your bodyweight, so be careful as you practice and be sure to warm up and properly progress. An advanced variation of a one-arm push-up is to lift your opposite back leg, which is called a one-arm, one-leg push-up. It's really tough!

3. Run a 5K

If you loved running in the past but have since fallen out of your routine, a 5K may help you get back on track and find your love of running again. Most metropolitan areas should have 5K races on a regular basis as they are very popular to help raise money for non-profit organizations. is a great resource for finding various endurance events near you.

4. Do A Spartan Sprint

The Spartan Race is an obstacle course race that has risen dramatically in popularity in recent years. The Spartan Sprint is 3.1 miles with around 20 obstacles. Spartan Races can be a lot of fun and a great way to help inspire you to get in better shape. You can also do it with friends, which makes preparation and the actual race even more fun.

5. 500-Meter Row In Less Than 2:00 Minutes

Most gyms have a stationary rowing machine, which can offer you a quick and simple fitness test by rowing 500 meters as fast as you can. Completing 500 meters in less than 2 minutes for men, or 2:30 for ladies is a great fitness test to improve your aerobic capacity.

6. 10-Second Handstand

A 10-second handstand may seem far-fetched, but it's within your reach with practice. Becoming proficient at handstands offers numerous benefits including improved shoulder mobility and stability, along with body control and awareness.

7. 10 Kettlebell Swings With The Beast

The "Beast" is a 48-kilogram (106-pound) kettlebell that looks like a draconian medieval weapon, but is actually a training tool to help you get very strong. A proper kettlebell swing stimulates every muscle in your body, with an emphasis on core strength, hip power, and grip strength. Start with lighter kettlebells to get the form down and slowly work your way up to the Beast. Ladies may consider a 24 kilograms, or 32-kilogram goal weight.

8. 2x Bodyweight Deadlift

The deadlift is a classic full-body strength training exercise that tests your ability to lift a heavy weight off the ground. While the deadlift can be an effective strength builder, it can also be a dangerous exercise. In order to deadlift properly, you will need to achieve adequate hip, hamstring, and upper back flexibility. A 2x bodyweight deadlift is a solid feat of strength. I strongly recommend working with a knowledgeable strength coach, or personal trainer before attempting this fitness goal.

9. 10 Minutes of Exercise Every Morning For 30 Days

Daily exercise is an excellent goal, whether you are doing some yoga, push-ups, jogging, or really any type of physical activity that challenges your body. Consider creating a simple 10-minute morning routine of exercises like push-ups, bodyweight squats, and dynamic stretches. It can be a game changer for you if you have trouble with consistency, or only exercise a couple times per week.

10. 60 Minutes Of Yoga Every Day For 30 Days

Yoga is an exceptional exercise method to help you feel more relaxed and improve your mobility, body control, and balance. If you feel stiff all the time and stressed, yoga may be very helpful. If 60 minutes of yoga sounds like too much, try 10, or 20 minutes a day for 30 days.

For 15 more fitness resolution ideas, you can check out the full article on 25 Fitness Goal Ideas for 2015.

What are your fitness goals this year? Are there any on this list that you want to try?

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