Goal Setting: A Realistic Approach

We all know in order to be successful at anything in life it helps to have a plan to reach your goals. Have you ever heard of SMART goals? It's a fun and logical way to set and measure goals that will keep you organized and motivated.

When you set out to make a change for yourself, be it health, new workout, diet, etc., you have high aspirations of what will happen.

Perhaps you want to fit into that bikini by next pool season or be able to bench press 20 pounds more by next month. Whatever your dream you need to set goals. The problem with setting goals is that we tend to strive for more than we should and end up with our first attempt being a failure and that failed attempt turning into a last attempt.

So how do we set goals in a realistic manner that will give us results, keep us on track and provide consistent improvement? We have the secrets to your goal setting. Read on to learn how you can set a goal and accomplish it.

Be Specific

How many times have you said to yourself “I want to lose weight!” only to end up saying the same thing again a year later?

The problem here is that you aren’t specific enough. Losing weight is a great goal to have, but you need to not only be specific but realistic. Put a number down on paper. Hold yourself accountable without any outs. Saying you just want to lose weight will allow you to lose a single pound, and then be done.

However, saying you want to lose 30 pounds will make you keep going until your specific number is reached.

Set A Date

If you want to lift more weight, then you need to start sometime. But starting doesn’t mean you will improve consistently.

Make yourself have a clear goal date in mind. Don’t leave it open to interpretation. If you set a specific date to shoot for you will avoid putting off today’s workout because it doesn’t matter in the long run. However, if every day you see a red circle on that calendar reminding you that the deadline for your goal is fast approaching, you’ll put down the bear claw and pick up the dumbbell.

You need two dates for every goal, a date to start and a date to finish. Telling yourself you want to be able to curl an extra 10 pound by the end of next month, and you will start on Monday, gives you no outs. You must begin on Monday, and you have a finite number of days to improve.

Go Slow

Far too often failure is found by trying to go too fast. While it may not be impossible to quit smoking, and eat healthy by next Friday, it will be challenging. Moreover, if next Friday comes and goes and you still light up, you will have failed and feel you can’t do it.

Take it slow. Understand the change you want to make and give yourself a realistic window of time to get it done. Being realistic means, you don’t get to take 4 years, either. Depending on what the goal is, the time frame will change.

When you understand this about your goal and account for a variable, you will be far better off and more likely to reach your goals.

Don’t Bite Off Too Much

When we set out to make changes, our hearts are often bigger than we let on. We want all the changes, and we want them now!

However, you need to try and limit your changes to one or two at a time. Having too many goals is just as bad as not having any. You won’t make any noticeable progress and will end up feeling like you have failed.

Instead, focus on one thing at a time until you are accustomed to it. Then, you can add the next goal until that, too, is mastered. Repeating this cycle will give you the confidence to achieve the next goal because you already have completed goals under your belt.

Accountability

Sometimes we may be ashamed of our goals, or what they say about us currently. You may not want to blab to the whole world or on social media that you need to lose 40 pounds. Perhaps you don’t want people to know that you have 40 pounds to lose.

However, accountability can be a huge motivator in meeting a goal. Tell a spouse or a close friend. Or, you are so inclined, make a social media post and ask people to check on your progress and demand updates as you go along.

You will find it much harder to tell someone you can’t or won’t after making them make sure you do.

Keep Records

Keeping track of what you are doing, your progress and what changes have come into play make meeting your goals easier.

You can say you want to lose 3 pounds a week. However, if you step on that scale at the end of the week and the needle doesn’t move, you need to know why. Keeping records of what you eat, drink, when you work out, what you did during your workout, and other factors will enable you to have a way to look back and see where you can make improvements.

If you didn’t reach your weekly weight goal and went back to your records to remember the office party where you had four bowls of frank and beans, might be a good reason why.

Schedule Off Days

Make sure you have at least one day off per week. Your body will need to recover, and your system will need a reset. Give yourself a rest and let nature take its course.

Scheduling off days will give you a chance to not only heal and recover but to refocus on areas of weakness for the remainder of the week.

Conclusion

Having goals is great, being able to reach them is even better. Use bite-sized chunks to allow yourself time to adjust and have attainable goals from the beginning. Be specific with your goals and set dates for when you want to start and end.

Give yourself accountability with others and keep track of your progress for yourself and your accountability partners. And above all else, take it easy. You can do it, give yourself time.

TFT Team

Our team at The Fitness Tribe often collaborates together to produce content. When you see “TFT Team” this is because the content was not written by a single author, but rather a team effort.