I’m sure you’ve heard the adage that if you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you get there?
Proper goal setting is a plan for getting things done. When you set your goals in the right way, you feel ready, willing, and able to make things happen. When the initial motivation and energy inevitably wanes or roadblocks pop up, you have a foundation and reserve to pull from to keep going.
When you don’t know how to set goals, you get lost or overwhelmed. You are forced to rely heavily on motivation and willpower and can end up crushed by “shoulds”.
A goal isn’t just about what you want at the end of your journey – like to lose weight or be more toned or have more energy. A goal is also about WHY you want to get to that point.
Why do you want to lose weight? How will being lighter affect your life? How would you feel, how would you act, and what kind of things would you do?
Getting really clear on this picture – this ‘why’ – will help to motivate you when you come upon obstacles that might derail you. You can summon this ‘why’ when you feel like you don’t have time to fit in your workout or when you don’t feel like cooking a healthy meal and want to choose take out again.
I want to challenge you to really consider your goals and what is behind the motivation for achieving them.
Setting your goal
Click the download button below for a copy of my goals sheet questionnaire to help guide you through this process.
Here are the questions to ask yourself when setting your health or weight loss goal (or really any goal):
- Is this goal you’ve set for yourself been one that you have set in the past?
- If you have not achieved it, can you think of why – what prevented you from achieving this goal in the past?
- Is this goal realistic? Or do you need to let go of old benchmarks? For example, if you happened to be at a certain weight when you got married and your goal is to get back to that weight, you will need to consider if that number is realistic. What was your fitness level then? Did you have much muscle mass? What was your lifestyle? Lots may have changed in your life including your internal metabolic processes (i.e. your hormones), your environment, spare time, stress etc.
- When do you want to achieve this goal? Assign a date – Be very specific (and also very realistic)
Now break that goal down. What will need to happen each day, each week or each month to achieve the goal by that date.
This is where you turn your “outcome goals” into “behavior goals”. You shift your focus from what you want to achieve at the end, to the behaviors you want to have or actions you need to take on a consistent basis to make the outcome you want actually happen. You have a lot more control over your behaviors and habits, than you have over the outcome. For example you may not have control over the fact that a huge project happens at work that requires you to work longer hours or ups your stress level and leaves you exhausted at the end of the day, but you DO have control over the actions you take on a regular basis to manage your stress and the strategies you have in place to make sure you can fit in your workouts on even the busiest of days.
So what skills will you need to possess in order to reach your goals?
Write down the habits or behaviours you will need to do each day, week or month in order to reach your goals.
Now write down how you will celebrate achieving this goal. Be extra specific here…paint a detailed picture of what that celebration will look like and how you will feel then.
You now have a specific goal, the specific steps you need to take along the way to guarantee your success and a clear picture of what that success will look and feel like!
To keep you on track, set yourself reminders. If you use an alarm on your phone to wake up – change the label from the word ‘alarm’ to the name of your goal. That way you will start your morning every day with a reminder of what you are striving for.
Set reminders & cues for the behaviours and habits you identified – especially in the beginning while you are still establishing your new routine.
Lastly, make sure you celebrate the small wins along the way. You need to enjoy the process.
When you get clear on your goals, why you want to achieve them and the steps to take along the way, you can ensure your success Willpower Not Required
Remember to click on the link above to get my handy worksheet that lays out everything I just talked about and get to work setting your goal.
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