Everyone has goals, and chances are you have made goals in the past that were never achieved. But why do some people always seem to achieve the goals they set and others always seem to fall short? Maybe the answer lies not in what you do to achieve the goals, but the goals themselves, and more specifically HOW you set them.
- Is it Specific? – What exactly do you want to accomplish? Here are some typical answers we as trainers hear that are not specific enough. “I want to lose weight” is not specific enough. “I need to lose 30lbs” is not specific enough. “I need to lose 30lbs by June” is getting close but not specific enough. “I need to lose 30lbs by June to fit into a little black dress for a wedding and show my sister-in law up” now that is specific. Now we have a goal with a date and reasoning behind it.
- Is it measurable? – Make your goal quantifiable. If it is measurable it can be managed. Much like in the first example, you must not only attach a number such as; weight or inches lost, weight added to your lifts, your runtimes cut down, but you also should have a reason behind it. A function such as; a race, competition, wedding, cruise, vacation, are all good reasons to have a measurable goal.
- Is your goal attainable? – This is a big one, and probably the biggest reason I see people fail in their goals. People make their goals too large or too far out into the future so they eventually get frustrated and quit. Set small goals first so you can see progress right away. There is no set number of goals you are allowed to have. You can have as many or as few as you want or need. Yes, the end goal may be to lose 60lbs and run a marathon, but if you’ve been sitting on the couch with no physical activity in the last 3 years, you need smaller goals in place.
- Is your goal relevant? – Ask yourself if this goal is worthwhile to you. Ask yourself, why am I motivated to do this? The example of losing 30lbs for a wedding with the extra motivation to show up a family member has more relevance than just wanting to lose 30lbs because you think you need to. It needs to mean something to you. Not to anyone else but to you.
- Is my goal timely? – You want to create a sense of urgency in your goal setting. Setting those smaller goals we talked about earlier will help with this step. Too much time is a bad thing, as life tends to throw you curve balls. Similarly, a big goal with a two week clock is probably not enough time and is unreasonable. By asking yourself the questions above and then attaching a finish date to your goal, you will set yourself up for a greater chance for success.