Shot of a diverse group of individuals doing lunges in a gymhttp://

As a personal trainer, Jeremy Ferry, owner of Pure Performance Fitness Center in downtown Springfield, likes to focus on goals. “You can go into something with good intentions,” he says referring to working out or dieting, “but if you don’t have a goal, you’ll ultimately get discouraged.”

To establish your goal, ask yourself, “Why am I going to do this?” Are you doing it so you feel better about yourself? Are you doing it for longevity? Do you want to be stronger? Whatever your why, turn the answer into your goal. Saying you’re going to diet for the sake of dieting probably won’t work. But if you determine you’re going to change your eating habits to lower your blood pressure and avoid medications, then you know precisely what you’re striving for.

Once you have a big goal, Jeremy encourages you to break that bigger goal down into little goals. And once you reach a little goal, make sure you’ve established the next little goal for yourself.

“I find small, realistic goals along the way make it easier for people to achieve big goals,” he says.

Then once you know your goals, keep them in front of yourself. “I recommend putting up Post-It notes on the bathroom mirror, in your office, on the refrigerator. I even have clients make vision boards . . . a poster-size board with photos from magazines or drawing that reaffirm where they’re headed.”

Jeremy took the time recently to talk to INB employees who are putting a renewed emphasis on health and fitness. Besides goals, he says we all need a support group, and we must be willing to leave our comfort zones if we want to make a real change in our lives.

“INB’s got the support network going with things like your running group and this presentation,” says Jeremy. But if you can’t be part of the running group or attend a presentation, consider finding a friend to work out with, or focus on better eating as a family. Don’t try it alone! Even group exercises at a gym can provide that sense of group. No matter what you do, Jeremy suggests surrounding yourself with people who support your goals.

Once you have your goals and support from your family and friends, Jeremy says you next need to put together a game plan. “How are you going to meet your goals?” If you don’t have a defined answer for this, it’s time to seek help. On-line resources, phone apps and/or a dietitian or personal trainer can be very helpful.

Finally, says Jeremy, be sure to assess your success each month. You need to know how you’re doing. If you’re not where you had hoped to be, you need to determine why and make the appropriate changes.

He concludes, “If you’re well motivated then you can take action. You just need to be passionate about what you’re doing.”

Editor’s note: Jeremy Ferry’s passion is helping people achieve their fitness goals. His new establishment, Pure Performance Fitness Center Is located at 320 S. 4th St. . . . a half block from INB’s downtown location. We’re glad he’s in the neighborhood. Call him at 217-891-0691 for a tour of his 24-hour fitness facility.