More often than not, I come across people with very poorly defined goals, if they have a goal at all.
They tend to be ideas or wishes instead of goals. The more I learn about behavior, the more I realize that people don't know how to set themselves up for success.
I am guilty of this cycle myself but I am learning that there is a method to transforming your wishes into concrete goals.
Let me break it down for ya ;)
1- Goals must be put in writing. If you don't write it on a piece of paper, record it, shout it from the roof tops and tell your friends, it's not a goal; it's a wish. Wishes don't usually come true without a plan. So don't wish or dream about, WRITE about it. Trust the process.
2- Goals must be specific and measurable. I hear it all the time... "I just want to get healthy!" or "I'm just looking to lean out a bit/tone up/bulk up." Those are very vague ideas..you can't quantify those notions. Your goal should be measurable like losing 5 pounds of fat or gaining 5 pounds of muscle. "Healthy" can mean very different things to various people. What are you looking to achieve? Do you want to improve your cholesterol? Resting metabolic rate? Make sure you can track your progress.
3- Goals need a specific timeline. This coincides with number 2; timelines make goals more real. You track your progress based on a timeline. With a timeline, you know exactly when it's going to happen...you're not just wishing for the results to come eventually.
4- Goals must be realistic. The goal has to be attainable, much less in the specific timeline you landed on. You're not going to lose 10 pounds of fat in 2 weeks, not in a healthy way. Goals need to reflect an appropriate understanding of how long it actually takes to attain such a goal.
The above 4 qualities are the basics. When you're sitting down with your pen and paper to set a goal, you need to consider it's personal meaning.
The goal must have substance and significance to you. It must resonate with your inner most desires. This is where you need to "peel the onion" and dig deep into your thoughts. You need to keep asking yourself "why" over and over again. Don't feel vain or shallow..be honest with yourself.
Why do you want to lose 10 pounds? For health? To look good this summer in a new bathing suit you have your heart set on? To decrease your risk of heart disease because a close family member of yours died from heart disease? Are you going to sign up for competition with your friends to transform yourself and the pot of $1000 is up for grabs?
There are no right or wrong motivators. Do you have a photo shoot planned? A specific event to attend? Do you have a sporting event you registered for? Do you want to feel sexy and confident naked? You need to find these very personal and deep meaning to your goals to reflect upon when going gets tough on your journey.
Outcome vs. Behavior
Learning the difference between an outcome-based goal and a behavior-based goal is crucial to your success. Most people focus solely on the outcome based goal. This is a mistake.
Outcome-based goal: the main outcome or objective that one hopes to accomplish. "I want to lose 5 pounds of fat in 6 weeks." You must realize that you can't directly control the accomplishment this goal. It's the end result of a series of things that need to happen.
Behavior-based goal: these are the steps you have to take to accomplish the outcome. When you want to lose 5 pounds of fat in 6 weeks, some of your behavior goals may be to reduce your caloric intake by 400 calories for the next 6 weeks or to exercise 5 times per week over the next 6 weeks. You can DIRECTLY control these goals; it's a choice and action each and every day.
When writing down your goals and your action plan, make sure you have both the outcome and behavior goals in place. Your focus should be on the latter. The more behavior goals you achieve, the more motivated you become. It's an avalanche effect. the more behavior goals you knock out, the closer you get to reaching the outcome goal.
As a coach, it is my job to help you establish goals and come up with an action plan to achieve them. This is a big part of what we do at St. Pete Strength and Conditioning.
Don't train without a purpose - you will get no where.
Start your journey with us here.
-Nicole Race, Co-owner St. Pete Strength and Conditioning, home of SPSC Crossfit