Goal setting: easy on paper, right? But sometimes, somewhere along the journey, the simple plan you mapped out ends up getting lost. Could this be down to your mindset?
How often do you set yourself goals or resolutions to get in shape? Reach a certain weight on the scales? To join the gym? Commit to training multiple times a week? Cut down the booze or start eating more healthily? All for everything to fall through at the last minute as you relapse back into your old habits…?
Trust me, you’re not alone.
How can we stop this from happening?
The key is in setting actionable goals and creating a system that helps to stop this from happening. SMART goals are a great way to make your objective crystal clear, making the task Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Time-Based. However, there’s more to the picture than the goal on paper.
What’s the cost of change?
Let's look at it this way. The first step to achieving realistic goals is understanding the necessary sacrifices. What are you going to have to change in the short or long term to get to where you want to be? What are the behaviours and habits that need addressing in order to meet your goal?
What impacts will this have on your lifestyle?
The second step to setting realistic goals is in understanding the impact of the changes on your lifestyle. What effect will they have on your day-to-day? What will you have to change to get there? Is it realistic or achievable? Are you prepared to make these changes?
In this day and age, the internet makes it very easy to get informed about what you need to do to hit your objectives. But information isn’t enough: you need an understanding of the above to develop the right plan and system for YOU. It’s a very individual process therefore what works for someone else may not work for you.
Four steps to reaching your goals
These steps will help you get a clear idea of where you are now, and create a system to map out your journey to where you want to be.
1. Set your goal.
You need to set goals that are important to you - that you’ll feel passionate about achieving. This is called intrinsic motivation. It's important to be aware of your starting position which will give you a reference point of what may need to change. If you’re struggling to set yourself a goal, some questions you could ask yourself are: What does success look like for me? What do I actually want to do?
2. Understand the cost of change.
At some point along the line, you are going to have to change some of your behaviours in order to reach your goals. Understanding how these changes will impact your day-to-day life is a great start. For example, if the goal is weight-loss then you will have to dial in on your habits and behaviours to change. You may eat perfectly during the week and have a big blow out with your friends on the weekend. Changing how you eat during the week or the types of drink you consume at the weekend is a great place to start.
3. Set short term realistic targets.
Whether the goal is long term or short term, there are going to be some changes. You need these changes to be as realistic as possible to stop you from feeling overwhelmed by choice – or that they are too far away to reach. This will only set you up to fail. Often, people who join a gym for the first time (or come back after some time off) will turn up six times in the first week, twice the following week…then fall off the wagon.
Set yourself short term realistic targets as this is a sure way to keep you on track to get you to the bigger picture. It’s great to have mini goals as these will help you reach your main goal. For example, we could do this with weight loss goals by looking at total calories for a week. Rather than day-by-day, you can spread your calories out – with lower level days during the week and higher numbers at the weekend to allow you some flexibility.
Tell someone about your goal. You are far more likely to reach your goal and stick to it if people know about it. That way you’ll have someone to encourage you and spur you on.
When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates.” — Thomas S. Monson
Here at W10, we offer monthly reviews to all our members. This helps to keep them on track and discuss any strategies or ideas to set and achieve their goals.
Goal setting is so important. It turns your dreams into plans, motivating you to get out of bed in the morning and setting you firmly on the path to success. You will be surprised at what you can achieve when you put your mind to it.