The Goal Setting Process

“The fact is that you can’t hit a target that you can’t see. If you don’t know where you’re going, you will probably end up somewhere else. You have to have goals.” – Zig Ziglar

 

Most people understand that setting goals are important for making progress; however, the overwhelming majority of folks struggle with the goal-setting process, especially when it comes to improving their health, body composition, and performance. According to psychologist and best-selling author of 59 Seconds: Change Your Life in Under a Minute Richard Wiseman, it’s critical to set goals that are

S.M.A.R.T.:

– Specific

– Measurable

– Achievable

– Realistic

– Time-based

For instance, instead of saying, “I want to lose weight,” how can you be more specific about the amount of weight you want to lose in a specified time? Even more importantly, focus on creating bite-sized goals for each day or week. For instance, in addition to outcome-based goals (e.g., losing a certain amount

of weight) that specify what you want to happen during a period of time, create a list of behavior-based goals. Behaviors (as well as attitudes) are well within your control, and they specify actions that must be taken to get to the desired outcome.

You can essentially map out your desired outcome by creating step-by-step mini-goals (i.e., a list of behavior-based goals) that slowly but surely take you where you want to be. Here are some examples of behavior-based goals:

– I will get 7 – 8 hours of sleep each night.

– I will go grocery shopping on Sunday to make sure that I have healthy foods

for the week.

– I will experiment with one new recipe each week.

– I will eat 1 – 2 servings of vegetables with each meal.

– I will eat a portion of protein with each meal.

– I will drink eight to twelve 8-ounce glasses of water each day.

– I will practice meditation and gratitude daily.

– I will pack my gym bag the night before.

– I will take a different route home so that I’m not tempted by ‘x’ fast food restaurant.

By listing behavior-based goals, you emphasize the process, and you acknowledge that you are in the driver’s seat. Notice how the behaviors are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based—in most cases, they are daily actions. Ask yourself, what’s one thing that I can do right now, today, to help me achieve the desired outcome? Write down your goals—both your outcome- and behavior-based goals and carry them with you in your pocket. Review them in the morning (as part of your morning ritual) to remind yourself of what you want to accomplish and how. Review them again in the evening (as part of your evening ritual) to see how you did, what you did well, and where you might be able to improve. Remember, it’s about progress, not perfection.

Good nutrition, improved health, and optimal performance require patience and practice. It’s okay if you get distracted. We all do. The best athletes, meditators, and successful professionals do too; however, they’re really good at returning to focus. In other words, if your thoughts wander or you get slightly off track, realize that it’s normal, pick up the pieces, re-focus, and bounce back as quickly as possible better than ever.

Live the life you were meant to!!!

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