The start of a New Year always brings an influx of goals, hopes, and dreams for the New Year. Optimism runs rampant. The excitement in the air is palpable as people share their plans, feeling an iron-clad sense of determination, motivation, and commitment.
Nowhere is this phenomenon seen more than inside the walls of a gym. Thousands of people each year set goals to better their health and fitness — to lose weight, build muscle, eat better, and, our favorite, get healthy. And despite the resolve and enthusiasm seen come January 1, by mid-February, 80% of people have completely abandoned their big plans.
Why? Because those are absolutely terrible goals.
Don’t get us wrong — wanting to improve your health or change your body composition are wonderful and worthy pursuits. But the odds of achieving your goals when they’re generic and not measurable are slim to none. Here’s what you should do instead.
Step 1: Figure Out What Your Goals Are
The first step in the goal-setting process isn’t the most fun. In order to really hone in on where you want to go, it helps to harshly evaluate where you are and why you are or aren’t satisfied. Resist the urge to be overly critical — if you’re happy with an area of your life, write that down! But also record all the areas you feel like you’re falling short. These become areas of opportunity for bigger goal setting. Be honest with yourself and let your discontent fuel you through the rest of the process.
Step 2: Set a “Good” Goal
In order for goals to be effective, they must create some sort of urgency. Why now? What will accomplishing this goal change about your life? Why do you want that to change? Without purpose, it’s easy to continuously push off the steps needed to reach a goal in favor of other more enjoyable or urgent tasks.
When you set this initial goal, even if you have your “why” nailed down, it might still be too big. Having a big “pie-in-the-sky” goal is great, but to stay motivated, you’ll need to break it down into smaller goals. We recommend working in 90-day chunks — where do you want to be in 90 days? Take that point and work backwards. Clarity precedes action, so the more clear you can make your vision here, the more likely you’ll be to take steps to get there.
Let’s take a closer look at the not-so-great goal of “wanting to lose weight.” Consider the following questions to dig deep into how you’ll accomplish it:
- How much weight do you want to lose? How many pounds per week and month?
- How will you measure progress along the way?
- Why do you want to lose that weight? How is not working towards this goal holding you back?
- How long will it realistically take you to accomplish this goal? (Hint: If you don’t know, seek out an expert who can help you figure that out!)
- What is the specific date you want to achieve this goal by?
After answering these questions, we might arrive here: “I want to lose 30 pounds in 90 days; this will equate to 10 pounds a month or 2.5 pounds per week and I will measure this progress by weighing in once a week on Monday mornings. I want to achieve this goal because I can’t keep up with my grandkids and climbing stairs leaves me winded. I feel very fragile and I want to feel strong and capable. I will accomplish this goal in 90 days, by May 1.” Boom! The goal is clear, detailed, and really emphasizes the “why.”
Here, we’re talking about fitness, but we recommend going through this process in five key areas: Fitness, Focus, Family, Finances, and Fun. This part should be fun! Figure out where you want to go and be as granular as possible about why you want to get there. On your first try, keep it to one goal per area to avoid overwhelm.
Step 3: Create a Plan to Achieve Your Goal
Now that you have the specifics in hand, it’s time to break everything down into manageable pieces that give you little wins along the way. The key here is that each layer must be measurable.
Losing weight is a simple example because it’s easy to measure — X amount of pounds lost each week or month. If your goal for Focus is to show more gratitude, a way to measure that could be a daily list of 10 things you’re grateful for. At the end of 90 days, you should have 90 gratitude lists — if you don’t, you’ve failed. Keep it simple, but make it specific and clear so you’re setting yourself up for success.
From there, you can extrapolate your goals down into several levels: monthly, weekly, and daily. All of your daily, weekly, monthly goals should be in alignment with one another and not contradictory. If you’ve set goals in multiple areas, you may identify habits that support more than one area of your life, which is great! Keep it simple, specific, and streamlined, and you’ll be on your way to reaching your clearly defined goals in no time.
Our Goal Setting seminar will help you get 2020 vision on all your 2020 goals. You’ll finish this session with:
- An honest and enlightening 360º view of all areas of your life, not just fitness
- A clearly defined vision and goals for your year
- Rock-solid plans for your daily, weekly, and monthly goals, including measurable objectives that really work
- A whole heck of a lot of motivation and strategies to stay on track
Ready to stop procrastinating and finally reach your goals? Download the training and workbook here.