The Road Map. It’s your first “road trip”. You wake up before the alarm in anticipation of your adventure, eager to hit your first destination. The car is packed and off you go. A couple hours into your trip as you head into unfamiliar territory, you panic as you realize you forgot your map. Let’s pretend Google Maps doesn’t exist and GPS is one of those super high tech gadgets only scientists own.
Who needs a map anyway as long as you kind of know where your journey ends. Right? This is a perfect analogy for the way most of us set our fitness goals. We have our “perfect” body example in hand torn from the pages of the most current Shape magazine and now it’s time to hit the gym! Too many of us treat goal setting this way. We dream about where we want to go but we don’t have a map to get there.
To me, having a goal is truly as simple as having a road map with destinations marked along the way, on the journey to wherever the finish line is. If you don’t go about it this way, you’re probably not going to hit your goal.
Why set goals?
Goals keep us sharp. They challenge us. We steadily improve if goals are the driving force. By setting sharp, clearly defined goals, you can measure and take pride in the achievements as you see forward progress. This will raise your self confidence. An acronym I like to use is SMART. Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant Timely.
Goals should be straight forward and emphasize what you want to happen. Specifics help us focus our efforts and clearly define what we are going to do. The what, why and how.
If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Your goal should have measurable progress so you can see changes occur. Establish a criteria for measuring progress. When you measure progress, you stay on track and reach target dates which keeps the fire burning in the belly to keep on keepin on. To cross the finish line! Here’s a fine example on how to do just that. “I want to lose 15 pounds in 60 days. My target weight loss is 2 pounds per week for the next 8 weeks, while I log my progress”.
Goals you set that are too far out of reach are very difficult to commit to. It then becomes easy to walk away from that goal by giving yourself a pass. Don’t be afraid to set a goal that stretches you abit though! Stepping out of a comfort zone is healthy!
This does not mean easy! Realistic in this case means “do-able” or having the skills required. How does this sound for realistic….”I’m never going to eat cake again!” Uh….for me, that’s so unrealistic, that my fingers went into cramps while I typed that nonsense.
Set a time frame for your goal. This is NOT the right time frame! “I’m going to Maui in three weeks and I need to get in swim suit shape!” I hear this kind of stuff all of the time. Plan your wedding dress fitting according to your workouts and nutrition schedule, not according to your wishes and wants. Try a work back technique. That means wedding day is December 1st and it’s June 1st right now. November 1st your dress fits like a glove. October 1st you’re 2 pounds away from your goal! September 1st you’re hitting five workouts a week. August 1st your meal planing has become second nature. July 1st you’re finally past the sugar craving and you’re drinking all of your daily water. This is a solid way to coast into a finish line. Mad scrambles are……madness.
Set the bar high enough when goal setting so your achievement leaves you with a sense of confidence and empowerment. Share your goal with others to create an accountability factor. The more people who know you are working towards something the more support you’ll receive. Reviewing your goals daily is a crucial part of your success and must become a part of your routine and it’s very important that your “self talk” remains positive. See it in your head, feel it in your outcome.
Find your finish line.