When he talked of setting goals my high school basketball coach told us to shoot for the moon because if we failed we would at least land somewhere among the stars. Is it a coincidence that not too many of his players went on to play in college? Setting goals is not about planning to fail, its about knowing what you can accomplish and getting it done.
I knew darn well that players on our team didn't have the talent to make it to the NBA or even major college, but thats what he had them shooting for. The problem was that in shooting for that they neglected to take the steps necessary to accomplish what they really could have accomplished. They could have gotten scholarships to play for a Division 2 or 3 school, but the NBA was calling so they didn’t bother with any of that.
I don’t say this to be bitter about not playing b ball in college. After all, as my coach said to me “You’re smart, you’re gonna make it to college anyway, you don’t need basketball.” This was the catalyst for me quitting. What’s the point in going through the process if you don’t have a goal and you aren't going to attain it.
When you set out to make your goals for weight loss and the changes you want to make in your life, make sure you really think about what you can truly attain and what you’re willing to do to attain it. Most of us won’t book like Brad Pitt in Fight Club, so if we set out for that we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. If we start out looking like Jonah Hill in Superbad we may be able to look like Jonah Hill in 21 Jump Street. We just need to make sure we don’t go back to looking like him in The Sitter.
The point is that we all have an aptitude for the type of physical condition we can get ourselves into. We need to find out what that is, and by no means sell ourselves short of our absolute full potential. After we find out what that is, we need to do everything it takes to be the best that we can. To do that we need to set goals.
We’ve all had a speech from either work or school about setting SMART goals, the acronym is sometimes a little different, but a popular one is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. No matter which acronym is used this is a good way to look at setting your goals. If we set clear goals and take the time to reflect on them and gain appropriate feedback we will be motivated to keep working toward them. This motivation will lead you to working harder toward your goals.
We need to set specific goals that are difficult enough to keep us challenged. If we do this we will perform better than if we set vague and easy to accomplish goals. If a goal is easy to accomplish it is always easy to leave it be until the elusive tomorrow. The bigger the goal the bigger the feeling of accomplishment.
How to Set Goals
When you set goals you have to be clear about what you want to accomplish and when, make sure its worth accomplishing, make sure you are committed to accomplishing it, seek measurable feedback, and don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed.
Set a Clear Goal: What you want to accomplish and when
Set a clear goal, no ambiguity. Set a date of completion. And know what it will take to accomplish it. Saying “I will lose 4 pounds in the next 30 days” is much better than saying “I want to lose weight.”
You know from being told a million times that to lose a pound of fat you need to burn an extra 3500 calories, so you know to lose your 4 pounds (or 1 pounds a week) you need to create a 500 calorie deficit each day on average. So you know what it’ll take to lose your 4 pounds in the next month. If you say you want to lose weight, theres always tomorrow.
2. Make Sure Your Goals are Appropriately Challenging
Your goals needs to be challenging enough to keep you interested and motivated, the pay off has to be worth it. Your goal also have to be realistic enough to actually attain them.
As we know the bigger the goal the harder it will be to attain. What we also know is that as the difficulty increases so too does the pay off and sense of accomplishment. Setting appropriate goals will keep you on track to succeed.
Your goal also has to be relevant and specific to what you actually want to accomplish. Saying you want to look better for your wedding is different than saying that you want to lose 12 pounds to fit into a specific dress in a specific size is much more relevant to the goal. The pay off for forever having a picture of how you looked in that dress will be much more motivating than just looking better.
3. Make Sure You are Committed to Doing What it Takes to Reach Your Goal
The harder and more worth while the goals is to attain the more it will take for you to reach it. You have to be willing to do what it will take to reach your goal.
If your goal is worth it, it is going to take a lot of hard work. You have to be willing to pass on going to lunch with the people in the office or going out for drinks with your friends every week. This doesn’t mean never do it, it means you need to really cut back.
You will be faced with challenges along the way, you need to be willing to do what it take to push through them on your way to your goal.
4. Check Back in to Your Goal and Look for Measurable Feedback to Stay on Track
If you don’t stay in tune with your progress you will stop making progress. You need to check in with your progress regularly to make sure that you are on track to reaching your goal. This doesn’t mean checking in too often and getting discouraged when you didn’t lose a pound from one day to the next. It means checking in about once a week or so to see where you are.
If you are on track to reaching your goal you will be motivated by the progress. If you don’t check in during the process and aren't at your when you hit the deadline you will feel like giving up. If you check in during the process you could have saw in advance that you weren’t going too reach your goal in the time given and you could have readjusted your goal. This way you can keep motivated and know that you're working toward something instead of give up cause you didn’t reach your goal.
5.Don’t Allow Yourself to get Overwhelmed
You are going to have to work really hard to reach your goal, make sure you don’t get overwhelmed. This is easier done if your goal is appropriate for the time you’ve given yourself. Give yourself enough time and know what will be expected. And don’t beat yourself up if you can’t do it every single day, just don’t make a habit of letting yourself off the hook.