How many times throughout your life have you set out to improve your health and fitness, only to find yourself right back where you started? You get excited about a new program, or a new healthy cookbook, or a new personal trainer and then the excitement wears off and you’re back to square one. Except this time, you’re back where you started but with even more guilt about how you failed once again.
There are a lot of reasons this happens to people, but a major reason stems from either a lack of a tangible goal altogether, or a goal that isn’t aligned with their true values.
Before I give you the steps to create goals for yourself that you will actually be able to accomplish, let me say this very important thing…
Fitness goals cannot be based solely upon appearance or you will fail in the long term!
The truth is, if looking good was enough for you, you wouldn’t be struggling with your weight. Period. Read more about this in another article I wrote awhile back called Stop Saying You Want To Be Skinny Because You Don’t!
So if health and fitness goals shouldn’t be designed solely around looking good, what should they be based on? The answer is simple…your goals have to be designed around what you truly value most in life. The trouble is, a lot of people have no real idea what they value most, or they cannot connect the daily work involved in creating a healthy lifestyle to what they care about most. The principles I have laid out below will help you create goals to finally get you where you want to be, not only in health and fitness, but in your life overall.
- Honesty first! If you want to succeed at anything, you have to be honest with yourself about what you are willing to do. Saying you want six pack abs is one thing, but do you really want that if you learned it takes years of weighing and measuring food, working out at least 5-6x per week, skipping social functions, sleeping and waking at the same time each day and in general dedicating your life to fitness? Maybe not so much! The point is…be HONEST!
- Figure out what makes your spirit soar! Spend some time in introspective thought about what you really want from life. Ask yourself things like “how do I spend my time?”, “how do I spend my money?” and “what do I think about in my inner most thoughts?” These things tell us a lot about what we value and most of the time, it’s not what we say.
- Set big goals and then break them into smaller goals. If a goal is too big, it seems insurmountable. If a goal is too small, you achieve it and then become complacent. For example, if you set a goal to lose 100 lbs. you most likely will become defeated quickly because that is a lot to lose. Instead, start by breaking it into small steps, like walking 5 days per week and EAT only real food for breakfast for 2 months. The weight will come off, slowly which is sustainable and you will feel pride in accomplishing the ACTION and be less focused on the scale.
- Write it down and say it out loud. Once you have chosen a big goal and established smaller action steps, write it down and tell others you trust. It must be measurable and has to have a deadline. This process will help you with accountability and help you make sure your goal is realistic.
- Be prepared to work! It doesn’t matter if it’s a fitness goal, a career goal or something like a relationship goal, it isn’t going to happen without work. Make an action plan including specifics like what time of day you will commit to your fitness and stick to it. My advice is to get moving first thing in the morning before all other responsibilities. Walk, bike, swim, do yoga, go to the gym or exercise for 20-30 minutes at home. It’s up to you but get moving at the start of each day!
- Stop making excuses! When you constantly give yourself and others reasons you are not accomplishing what you say you want, you are merely giving yourself an out from the work. If your goal is aligned with what you value, and you have a realistic action plan, there are no more excuses to be had. If you find yourself in this trap, go back to steps 1 thru 3 and determine where the real problem lies.
- Be vulnerable and not afraid to fail. Success only comes after removing the fear of failure. The truth is you will not do what you laid out each and every day. Oh well. Get over it and move on. When you have one bad day it doesn’t give you the right to throw in the towel. Wake up the next day and work again.
If you are only working towards looking a certain way, you will most likely never be satisfied. Focusing on your actions instead will allow you to develop consistency and habits that will eventually get you where you want to be. Seek out others who provide both support and challenge. Give yourself a pat on the back, each day, over the seemingly small things and before you know it, you will have accomplished more than you ever thought imaginable.