Goal Setting

Ohhhhh, nooooo! Yes peeps! It's that time of year where we look forward to a fresh start! First of all, let's begin by saying we're going to set some goals for the year of 2015....NOT resolutions!

In my opinion, the term "resolution" hints that something's wrong with you...that you need to re-solve an issue, which literally means to solve a problem, again. So, let's just kick that cliche term to the curb and set some yearly health goals...indicating that there is indeed NOTHING wrong with you...you're just looking for improvement in your life! Deal? Ok, let's move on!

There are two main types of goals: outcome goals and behavioral goals. The outcome goal is the result or outcome you're chasing. The behavioral goals are the steps you will take to achieve the outcomes you desire.

We have some rules to abide by for setting outcome goals:
1) goals are written down
2) goals are specific and measurable
3) goals have a timeline
4) goals are realistic
5) goals are limited
6) goals are personally significant

Written: if a goal isn't written, it's a wish, a hope, or a dream. Those are all great, except they don't usually come true without a written plan of action.

Specific/measurable: a goal should be written so that there is no question of the intended outcome. If your goal is to lose fat, how many pounds of fat would you like to lose? If your goal is to gain strength, in which movement specifically and how much extra weight on the barbell do you consider as reaching your strength goal? If your goal is to "eat cleaner," well, we need to know, specifically, what that looks like...does that mean eating a minimum of 5 veggie servings a day, or does it start with eliminating processed foods?

Timeline: timelines help make your goals more real and give you the drive to develop the behaviors you'll need to accomplish your goal in a certain amount of time.

Realistic: you gotta be real with yourself, yo! If you're setting a goal of losing 10 lbs of fat in 2 weeks, or adding 50 pounds to your deadlift in a month, you're probably setting yourself up for failure and defeat. Goals take time and consistency to accomplish. So, be real! Your coaches can help you with developing appropriate timelines for strength gains, mass gains, and fat loss.

Limited: if you try to accomplish too many goals at once, you're bound to not accomplish any of them, which can ruin your self-esteem and lead you down the road of disappointment and despair. In addition, chasing too many goals at once can add unnecessary stress to your life, which means you're setting yourself up to get burnt out and say "F" it to all of your goals. For now, pare down your goals to one or two. You can always add new goals as you accomplish the original ones.

Significant: what's the real reason you chose your goal? Is it simply to challenge yourself? Do you have a history of cardiovascular or metabolic diseases (Type II Diabetes is an example) in your family? Do you have a special event coming up? Do you want to compete? Are you trying to set a better example for your family so they can also be healthy with you? Figure out why you want to accomplish this goal and write that down, too.

Here's an example of an inadequately-written goal: I want to lose fat, gain strength, eat healthier, and compete in some comps. Whoa there, Nelly! This goal is written, but it lacks specificity, measurability, and a timeline. Nor is there any real significance attached to it. And, there are too many things to focus on here!

Here's an example of a well-written goal: I want to drop 5 pounds of body fat over the next 12 weeks. This goal is important to me because I have about 20 pounds of fat total to lose in order to enter a healthy weight range, and losing 5 pounds will motivate me to lose the rest. Many people in my family are obese and unhealthy and tend to expire at a young age. I want to live a long, healthy, and active life.

Another example: I want to gain 50 pounds in my deadlift over the next 12 weeks. I want to do this because my deadlift has always been my weakest lift, and I feel it holds me back from making gains in other lifts; and beating Coach Manny will feel awesome! (Well, some might feel that beating Coach Manny is personally significant, right? Haha!)

Ok, now that you you've considered how to properly write an outcome goal, let's look at how you're going to accomplish this goal.

Now, we must set your behavioral goals. These goals will follow guidelines 1-4 above, and they will list the specific action(s) that you will perform in order to achieve your outcome goal.

Ok, so, poorly-written behavioral goal to go with a weight loss outcome goal of losing 5 pounds of fat in 12 weeks: I will eat cleaner.

Well-written behavioral goal: I will replace processed carbs with 2 servings of vegetables at dinner a minimum of five times per week for the next 12 weeks.

Another well-written behavioral goal: I will get to CCSC a minimum of three times per week for the next 12 weeks.

Both of these goals are written down, specific (say what you will do), measurable (you either did it or not), are realistic (you know these are actions you can commit to 80% of the time) and have timelines (x times per week for x number of weeks).

For your accountability, mark an X on your calendar every time you performed the behavioral goals you set.

Now, when your deadline rolls around, you may not have lost the full 5 pounds of fat or added that 50 pounds to your deadlift. Maybe you lost 3.5 pounds of fat. Maybe you added 25 pounds to your deadlift. You cannot really control the outcomes, but you can control your behaviors. The important thing is that you have probably developed some positive habits over the course of time. And, you are closer to accomplishing your goal than you were when you set out.

And THAT, my friends, IS an accomplishment!