Here at LIVE, the staff has a significant amount of experience studying what it takes to be successful and reach fitness goals, and nothing is more significant to success than having specific, written goals to achieve and a resulting plan to achieve them. (See our Goal Setting and Motivation Article and Features Section). In the fitness world, when you are in a position to change your fitness and would like to achieve something different than your current results, it is the act of identifying your specific goal that you want and then creating a strategy to achieve that goal that results in the biggest level of motivation, accountability and success.
A lot of people want to lose weight, tone up or just have more energy and feel better as their fitness goal. I talk to a lot of people as they get older especially that want to be able to keep up with the lifestyle they once had or now they have children or grandchildren and want to continue to have the energy that they require. Usually people come to us as personal trainers because they do not currently have the fitness level they want, and they desire a different result.
One of the things that I tell people right off the bat is that the fitness level they currently have is because of all the things that they are currently doing in their life, including what they have made important as a result of their priorities, and that somewhere in there, fitness itself had slipped down the priority list to a point where they no longer had the body and performance that they now want.
The trouble is, now that they want to make a change, we know at LIVE that the ONLY way a change will happen permanently is if the motivation to keep with the fitness lifestyle necessary to achieve that change remains high all the way through to the end of the process.
This is where the power of the goal comes in, because identifying a SPECIFIC thing that is to be accomplished is the only way that you can focus on making sure that they behaviors necessary to reach that goal are done on a daily basis.
For example, if a person wants to lose 20 pounds, the best way to set that goal up is not only to identify that they want to lose 20 pounds, but that they want to lose 20 pounds in exactly three months, by THIS day. This level of detail begins to get the brain wrapped around the fact that yes, things are going to change and they are changing immediately! Behavior change is the only way to reach a goal, and in order to change behavior, the goal must be really motivating and specific so that a person really WANTS to change.
The first step in achieving a goal is to make sure that it is SPECIFIC, i.e, losing 20lbs of body weight by a certain date. The clearer a goal can be, the greater a chance you will have of reaching it.
Second, the goal must be MEASURABLE, meaning you can actually say for certain in a measurable way whether it was achieved or not: like 20 lbs in so many days, as opposed to just saying “I want to lose weight”.
Third, the goals should be ATTAINABLE, meaning that it should be something that can be done by who you are: Going from a couch potato to the Olympic Trials in three months isn’t going to happen, but 20 lbs of weight loss could
Fourth, make the goal RISKY, meaning that it is at least a bit of a stretch to achieve. These goals are actually the most motivating because they are exciting and promise real change by the end.
Finally, attach a TIMELY end to the goal, so that there is an end in sight to the process, i.e like we said before, a 3 month period to lose 20 pounds.
Look for other articles in the LIVE archives on goals and goal setting to help you reach your fitness goals, and click on the links to our fitness plans page to get started on your way to achieving your goals for yourself.