Over the past few years, there has been a shift away from the traditional goal setting and a definite move towards a more natural, gentle and intrinsic approach to achievement. As someone who (although part of the fitness industry), often struggled with achieving my fitness goals I have find this approach much more authentic and helpful.
Of course working towards goals can help us to progress and move forward, but plucking goals out of thin air and creating goals that are not right for you, can definitely do more damage than good. There is not a one size fits all and fitness goals should be well considered to make sure they fit with your values and lifestyle.
So here are my top tips on setting goals that are right for you and that you can actually achieve!!
So grab a pen, and make some notes. It might surprise you…
- Choose the right goals
So before we go plucking fitness goals out of thin air, you need to ask yourself what is important to you on your health and fitness journey. Think long term (6 months+), short term (in the coming weeks) and also any changes that you want to see day in day out.
A simple example might be: “I want to move more and get outdoors every day”. This might lead to making a commitment to getting up earlier every morning to go for a walk.
Think of your lifestyle and how your goals are going to fit into daily life. If you want something enough, you can make it work. And if you’re not sure what you want, see point 2.
- Ask Yourself: What do you want to GAIN?
In my experience, it is always more helpful to focus on what you are gaining from a goal (rather than the more negative focus of what you are trying to get rid of). “Weight loss” is a common generic health and fitness goal but the very idea of losing weight is pretty negative, and the problem is that negative motivation often doesn’t last the distance. What is WAY more helpful, is to think about what you want to gain… or have more of.
Increased muscle tone, increased energy levels, increased confidence…these are all gains that are actually very compelling and will give your motivation an extra boost.
- Ask Yourself: How do you want to FEEL?
People set goals because they want to create a FEELING. What does the goal mean to you? How do you want to FEEL when you achieve it? Confident… strong….joyful… sexy??
Ask yourself how you want to feel and now consider this: it is your thoughts that create your feelings.
This is a really interesting point and one that often gets missed. When you understand that your feelings come from inside of you (rather than from a goal), you can see that the feelings you are seeking are available to you RIGHT NOW!
Understanding this will give you the power to move mountains!!
- Don’t get attached to the end result
Any goal worth achieving is going to take a certain amount of time and effort. That’s a given. We live in a culture of instant gratification where people expect instant results. It is all too common for people to want results to be IMMEDIATE and then invariably when that doesn’t happen there can be a tendency to feel despondent and even give up.
This is a symptom of being too attached to the idea of the end result. Don’t do it!
Instead: Focus on the PROCESS
Start to love and embrace the changes you are making. Really find the fun and pleasure. Notice where your thoughts are at and practice bringing them back to the present… focusing on enjoying the changes you are making.
- Less is more
In my opinion, having too many fitness goals is worse than having none. If you find it hard to follow through with your health and fitness goals, just pick one thing that you want to improve or change.
Make it a game…
In my experience, it pays to be a bit thoughtful about what you really want to achieve from your goals before laying them down. Asking yourself the right questions before setting them will really help you set goals that are right for you AND get your head in the right place to go the distance. I think most of us have bombed at achieving a goal at one time or another and if this does happen to you: be kind to yourself. Give yourself a break and then re-read this article. Let’s not take it too seriously. Life is a game…and actually isn’t that just what a goal should be? Have fun with it!