So ever feel like you’ve done or tried it all? Wondering why, for the umteenth time, you are back at square one? Perhaps you are discouraged that you continue to miss the mark on the “goals” you have set for yourself. We want to challenge you to evaluate if you truly have set goals for yourself or if you have just created an idea in your mind of how you “should be” without a real way of achieving the “idea” or the goals. Are your goals even achievable for the time frame you’ve set? This has gotten us coaches thinking. What is the issue with goal setting in people’s lives? Why are people not crushing the goals they have set for themselves? Why do so many give up on the process?
Surely, many of those reading this have heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals and probably have even gone as far as reading an article or blog on how to create smart goals. But my question is, do people actually know how to create a plan to achieve their goals? Setting the goal is one thing. So then what’s next?
Goal setting. What does that even really mean? Hundreds of times we have asked clients, “what are your fitness goals?”. Time and time again, amidst the popular answers (“I want to lose weight”, “I want to feel better”, “I want to eat healthier”) we hear vague generalizations of what people want to do. None of these goals actually have any action attached to them. We then have the discussion of why they don’t think they have reached the goals they already have set for themselves. Prior to even having the conversation with them, it’s obvious. It’s clear that the “goals” that are in their minds are just ideas. Antoine de Saint – Exupéry said it best when he explained, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
Goal setting has become so focused on the goal itself that often times people never even get to a point of working on the process to achieve that goal.
So let’s look at the process.
When you sit down to build a house, you don’t just haphazardly go at it. You create a plan to get that house built. You decide what it is going to take to get you to that success. You don’t just say, “ I want a house.” You design a plan, you commit to the steps, and over the course of time, you have a house. There is a set plan of action that takes place to get the house. Some steps occur first in order to set the foundation and then step by step, things are added along the way to build on top of that foundation.
When you are thinking about your goals, have you considered the process that you have set to actually achieve these goals? Much like the step by step process of building a house. What needs to happen first? What habits need to be established as the foundation?
Trusting the process is something that you will hear your coaches tell you time and time again. We know it’s frustrating when you feel like you are only making baby steps. But that’s what we want to see. Change is difficult. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. As coaches, we want to challenge you to set your energy on your process and not so much on your overarching goal. If your goal is to lose 50 pounds, that is a fantastic goal, but it has no action in it.
A few ways to rephrase your goals:
Original: I want to lose 50 pounds.
Process oriented goal: I will make it to class at the gym 5x per week and run/walk an additional 2 days/wk for 30min.
Original: I want to have a healthier diet.
Process oriented goal: I will add vegetables to 2 of my meals each day this week.
Original: I want more sleep.
Process oriented goal: I will set an alarm every day this week to be in bed by 9:00pm.
As a result of phrasing your goals as a process, you have created action in your life. As a byproduct, you have set your focus on the process and your overarching goal, inevitably becomes a reality. We didn’t get to where we are overnight, so we won’t see changes overnight. It takes commitment to a process to really start to see changes over time.
The process that you know will work creates a sense of hope in your continued work toward reaching your goal.
Now, some of you may be wondering where to go once you have already reached those goals. Goal setting is easy to tackle when you are looking at losing something major or gaining something major. You’ve reached your goal of losing a bunch of weight or getting the new promotion at work or even cleaning up your diet to add in more protein and veggies and ditch things like soda. SO now what?
Sustaining that achievement or setting a maintenance goal is just as, if not, MORE important than the first goal itself. Why? Think of how many times you have lost weight and then gained it back and then some. Or how many times you worked towards something, only to get it and then fall back into your old ways and find yourself back where you started. Maintenance becomes the real lifestyle change. We must create a process in which we will maintain the goal we have achieved and reevaluate the way we go about these things along the way. If that means setting a goal to go to the gym a certain number of times per week or a goal to pack your lunch a certain number of days in the week, those all will work.
Just as you reach those goals, if you do not consistently set goals to maintain the accomplishments you have already made, you will easily fall back to exactly where you were before. Remember, the stronger we get, the more we need to lift to continue to build that strength. Same goes for your goals. As you gain progress towards your goals, you will need to make several tweaks to your process goals and set some new ones to keep you moving forward.
Here are some tips to help you get re-focused on the process versus the goal at hand:
Get off the scale! In fact have a loved one hide it or toss it. Set up regular measurement appointments with one of your coaches and then ditch the measurements you do at home. Measurements are great for tracking progress, but only every few weeks or once a month. Day to day fluctuations will likely mess with your head and can often deter one’s motivation for the journey ahead.
Schedule gym time every day; every week. How many times can you set to hold yourself accountable to moving?? Make this realistic to achieve and realistic to your current fitness level, but necessary to achieve your goals.
Schedule a meal prep day. Or two days. Set yourself up for success by providing an environment of food that will help you hit your macro’s. Easier to stay on track with healthy food prepped and ready, then being starving after work and tempted to run through a drive thru versus cooking once you get home.
Tell someone your goals. Then ask for their support. Seriously- do this. Like now!!
Set-up a time to meet with one of your coaches. They can help you direct yourself in the right path. Maybe your process is not really leading you towards your goals. Let the experts help divert your path for success.
Visualize your day; your week. What things do you want to accomplish each day? Visualize the things necessary for your goals and create a schedule that allows you to do these things.
Journal. “Life is a journey with problems to solve, lessons to learn, and most importantly experiences to enjoy.” Journal along the process. Get out your frustrations along the way and celebrate your wins! You will learn so much about yourself along the journey. So have some fun with it and take it all in.
So take a deep breathe and think about your goals. Now spend some time to actually devise a plan of attack that will get you there. Whatever your journey is, it all begins with that first step. So make sure your first step is one of a set plan. We all must take that first plunge or leap of faith to go towards something that scares us a little, but setting a process to follow will give you a fighting chance!! We are here to help so don’t ever hesitate to ask for help along the way.
So what are you waiting for?