Setting goals is a powerful tool for change. Announcing those goals and holding yourself accountable is a catalyst for achieving and making positive change. The fact that you aren’t where you want to be right now should be the motivation you’ve been looking for to get started. I recently experienced the power of goal setting first hand at CrossFit.
I occasionally dabble in CrossFit. In other words, sometimes I go once a week and sometimes I make it three times. That’s life! On this particular Monday, before the workout started we went around the room, everyone introduced themselves, and we answered the question of the day. The question was, “What is your goal for the week?”. Being that I was at the gym (I wasn’t thinking about any other goals) so I said that I wanted to make it to the gym three times that week. Simple.
What I realized later that week is that there is so much power in setting goals and expressing them publicly. The week flew by and by Friday afternoon I had only made it to the gym twice, but because I had set the intention to work out three times that week, I made it a priority to achieve that goal. I ended up reorganizing my entire day to make it to the gym for the third time.
I truly believe that setting goals and thinking ahead will not only motivate you but also help you live your best life. You deserve to be the happiest, healthiest, most confident, and strongest version of yourself!
Importance of Goals (and Why They Fail)
Nutrition and health are based around goal setting. We’ve all made goals, achieved them, and probably even failed at a few (and that’s okay!). Goals are something that we should be set to become the best version of ourselves. They are the foundation of lifestyle change.
Why do we set goals, but have a difficult time reaching them? The reality of the situation is that we often wish that we could just reach the end; achieve the goal without appreciating and trusting the process. We need to flip the switch and make the process a part of the goal. That means focusing on the tiny habits that will lead you to the desired result.
If my goal is to lose ten pounds within the next three months and feel more confident, I need to be focusing on the behavioral change (habits) that will get me there. Maybe this means that I start drinking an extra glass of water each day, eat more veggies, or make it to the gym one more night this week. Whatever your desired result is, prioritize building these tiny daily habits to reach the top!
Other Reasons Goals Fail:
● Unaware of your reasons for setting the goal
● Unrealistic expectations (the goal is too broad and the time frame is impractical)
● Failure to hold ourselves accountable and measure outcomes
● Only focusing on the desired result instead of the daily habits (no plan)
● Lack of a support system
How to Set Goals
The goals you set should be exciting. They should evoke emotion. They should motivate you. One model I like to use as a template is the SMART method for goal setting. Here’s how to set achievable goals:
S - Specific
Be specific and get clear about what you want to accomplish. Dig deep and figure out what it will take for you to reach your goal. This will help with your focus down the line. During this step, you may want to use visualization techniques (meditation), journaling, or even a vision board to help you set the stage and figure out what you want to achieve and how it will feel when you’re there. Prioritize your goals and behavior changes. Answering these questions will guide you towards creating a specific goal:
● What do I want to accomplish?
● Why is this goal so important to me?
● Who needs to be involved for me to be successful? (Who is your support system?)
● What is my plan? (Think daily, weekly, and monthly to break your goal down into smaller habits or steps)
● What are the potential challenges I will face?
M - Measurable
Your goals must be measurable meaning that you should have a way to track your progress moving forward. Tracking your progress will keep you focused, meet deadlines, and stay motivated! This may mean keeping a diary or log of some sort (food journal, emotion tracker, etc.) or checking in with yourself weekly. You may want to answer these questions:
● What did I do well this week?
● What could I do to improve next week?
● What are my goals for next week?
A - Achievable
Is the goal you set realistic? Keep in mind that you should be setting goals that are exciting and emotional (they should motivate you), but they also must be attainable. Set goals that seem slightly out of reach and you will be amazed at what you can achieve.
R - Relevant
Identify how you will benefit by reaching this goal. Make sure the goals you are setting make sense for you and your future self. What will it feel like when you succeed?
T - Time-bound
Making sure your goal is time-bound will keep you on track and also keep you motivated with something to work towards (the big picture). Keep in mind that time frames need to be realistic.
● What is the timeline for achieving this goal?
● What are the small habits that I can do daily to reach this goal?
● What things do I need to be doing weekly and monthly to stay on track?
You must write your goals down (bonus points for telling someone else!), check-in with your progress regularly, and celebrate small wins. Focus on your progress, not perfection.
If you are not challenging yourself, you will not see any change in the future. Besides yesterday, today is the best day to start. Drop all of the excuses; don’t postpone working towards your goals until after the holiday season or at the start of the new year. Remember that it will take hard work, but you will be amazed at what you are capable of. Goal setting is a powerful tool that will help you reach your true potential.
What is one habit that you will work on this week? How do you hold yourself accountable?
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