There's a lot of anecdotal evidence that setting goals is key to achieving what you want out of life. But so many of us set fitness goals on the 1st of January and then forget about them by the next day. Why we do that has a variety of very deeply rooted reasons, but ultimately there are a few things we can do to help keep us on track and building successes.
Here's what you can do starting today to make sure your goals aren't a casualty in 2017:
1) It is important to set two types of goals for each desired outcome -- Process Goals and Outcome Goals.
- A process goal is simply that you will follow some process or activity, and it's quantitative in nature. That means, regardless of the outcome, if you do XYZ a certain number of times you have successfully met your goal. The process goal resets itself on a regular basis. I'll explain more about that below, but know that meeting your process goals has the effect of fueling your continued effort toward your outcome goals. That's why they're so important.
- An outcome goal is just that, and outcome. It's qualitative in nature (even if it's a quantitative, such as losing a certain number of pounds.) There is a transformation that needs to take place which is not instantaneous. As such, you will have to wait until you achieve the desired transformation to say you've successfully met your goal.
2) It is important that your goals are stated as SMART Goals.
Both Process Goals and Outcome Goals need to be stated in a very specific way to help ensure your success. That way is known as SMART. (As a refresher SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.)
- S - Specific - Be very specific about what you want to achieve.
- M - Measurable - Make certain there's a metric that you can use to know if you're progressing toward your goal.
- A - Achievable - Make certain that you're not setting unrealistic goals. This is often where people have trouble because the goal they want to achieve isn't actually achievable, at least not in the desired time frame.
- R - Relevant - The goal must be relevant to your own interests. If someone else wants you to train for a marathon, but you don't want to be a runner, you're unlikely to keep up with the goal. On the other hand, if you like to cycle, and you decide to train for a 100km cycling event, you'll likely be successful in meeting your goal.
- T - Time-bound - You need to have an end point in mind, and that should be a specific period of time. As alluded to above, the time portion of the goal has to fit with the "Achievable" portion.
Here's an example of a process goal and an outcome goal stated in the SMART format.
Process Goal: "I will improve my fitness by doing 45+ minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise, burning at least 500 calories per session, on at least three days per week."
In terms of SMART, here's how that breaks down. 1.) It's very specific. 45+ minutes; moderate to vigorous; 500+ calories, 3+ days per week. 2) It's measurable. Was it 45+ minutes? Did you burn 500+ calories? Did you do it 3+ days per week? 3) It's achievable. Most people spend more than 45 minutes three days per week watching television or scrolling through Facebook. 4) It's relevant. You're improving your fitness, which is probably why you stated this goal. 5) It's time bound. At the end of each week, you can count back and see how many times you did the exercise.
Outcome Goal: "I will lose 25 lbs in 6 months by ensuring that I exercise regularly and watch my intake of calories."
In terms of SMART, here's how this one breaks down. 1.) Again, it's very specific. 25 lbs through regular exercise and watching caloric intake. 2.) It's measurable. As you progress toward your goal, you will see the number of the scale fall. 3.) It's achievable. Losing 1-2 lbs per week is the suggested rate of weight-loss progress, so 6 months makes this about 1 lb per week. 4.) It's relevant. You want to get fit and you have a target that is relevant to you. 5.) It's time bound. You have 6 months to do this goal. At the mid point, you should be well on your way to your goal and at the end, provided you did what you said you were going to do, you should hit your target.
As a special gift to you, I'd like to give you a transformation goal setting session. The purpose of the transformation goal setting session is to either help you develop your goals for the year ahead or get a goal checkup for the ones you've already come up with. To get your transformation session, just fill out our contact form or call me at 760-56-EVOLVE (760-563-8658). I know you're busy, so the sooner you take action on achieving your goals, the faster you can transform your body, mind and lifestyle.
Happy new year, and please get in touch with me soon!