The majority of people (including myself) have made fitness goals that either fell to the wayside or never even saw the light of day. Whether it be procrastination, lack of time, or life just got in the way , we did not follow through on what we set out to accomplish. Don’t be fooled by social media, your failures are not due to a "lack of hard work" or "you just didn’t want it bad enough." It is much more likely that you can attribute your fitness woes to a lack of:
- Goal Setting
- Goal Specificity and,
- Realistic Expectations.
Now this list may seem like a simplistic approach but it can be a daunting task. This process requires a great deal of honest -self reflection and decision making. In order for long term success you have to understand the underlying motives are that are driving you. You also have to make necessary sacrifices in order to help you achieve your goals. But before we dive into why this is important we need to first figure out what you may actually want to accomplish.
Step 1: Establish Fitness Outcomes in Order of Importance
Write down the following general fitness outcomes, ON PAPER, from most important to least important.
- Fat Loss
- Increase Muscle Definition
- Increase Muscle Size
- Increase Strength
- Increase Mobility
- Increase Technique
- Increased Endurance
- Increased Athleticism
- Pain Reduction
Step 2: For Each Fitness Outcome Complete The Following Table:
|Outcome||A. Why do you I want to achieve this?||B. How will this impact my life?||C. If neglected what outcome(s) will this hinder?||D. List supporting outcomes:|
Step 3: Refine and Reorder
After completing the table you may have to reorder the list of outcomes. Generally speaking, the greater the amount of detail in response to questions A and B the higher the priority of the outcome. Question C is meant to help you understand that sometimes there are sacrifices that have to be made in order to reach your goals. For example, if an increase in strength is the primary goal and chronic pain impedes strength development, then pain reduction will have to be addressed. By no means am I saying that you have to be pain free before you strength train, but it would stand to reason that in order to succeed you must overcome barriers preventing your success. Question D allows you to see connections between outcomes which will help pair outcomes in the next section.
Step 4: Finalize the List - Set Primary Goal Set
Now that you have reordered your outcomes I want you to scratch out all the outcomes except the top 4 on the list. From the remaining 4 outcomes, ask yourself, what is the most important outcome to me? Circle this option, this becomes your primary goal. From the remaining 3 outcomes , choose the option that will most directly help you achieve your primary goal. Circle this outcome. These two outcomes make up your primary goal set.
Now that you have developed a primary set of goals we have to expand on them. Just like our outcomes we have to narrow down the search as to what specifically we want to achieve and why. We will apply a similar method to our specific outcomes as we did our general outcomes. Specific outcomes will fall under either; (A)area of focus, or (B) movement of focus.
Step 5: For both Primary and Secondary Goals sets fill out the following table:
|Outcome||A. Area of Focus
|B. Movement of Focus
(Top 2 )
Step 6: Setting Realistic Expectations
Now that you have completed this task you will have a really good understanding of what your goals are. The next step is to go out and start working towards achieving these goals. Before you begin to execute you have to set out realistic expectations for what you want to achieve. Now if the primary goal is to gain 10lbs of lean muscle then you will have to plan accordingly. If you set out to achieve this feat in four weeks time then you will have almost undoubtedly set yourself up for failure. Making small achievable goals is often the best way to approach fitness goals. Try breaking up each outcome into 1-4 week blocks, each attached to a realistic goal. Every block make sure to adjust where needed to keep yourself on track. It is always best to underestimate and overachieve rather than overestimate and underachieve. This will ensure that you are always moving forward in a positive direction.
By Anthony Harder