The first step to success is setting your goal.
Our life has always been about progress, ever since we were born. When we were babies, our parents were standing us up, preparing us to walk. When we were in school, we learned things in a specific order. We learned how to count and the alphabet before we learned addition and how to spell different words. Then, after we learned something, there was usually a test to see how well we learned that information. That test made sure we made progress in learning new things, and prepared us for what was ahead. We have developed exponentially since birth, learning new things every day and progressing on basic tasks/ideas that were once difficult for us to do or grasp. That progression since birth has made us into the person that we are today.
The progress that has been made in our lives has been very goal oriented. We have set goals for ourselves i.e.- pass a history test, then pass the class. We have figured out what we need to do in order to achieve that goal, and worked towards it. When looking at our lives in the realm of physical fitness, we should be able to set and work towards that goal. In my experience in the fitness world, one of the hardest things to do for the majority of people is to set a goal. Once a goal is set, our brain is hardwired to work towards and achieve that goal. People fall short in not clearly defining a goal. Personally, I use the acronym S.M.A.R.T. when talking about goals. This acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Oriented.
The first part of goal setting is realizing what your goal should be. This is where Specific comes into play. Get a place that is free from distractions, noise and interruptions and think broadly about what you want to accomplish and write it down. Do you want to run a marathon? Want to get stronger? Want to become more active? Once you have a broad goal, we will then refine it into a more specific goal. If you want to run a marathon, do you just want to finish it without walking or do you have a specific time to finish it in? Do you just want to be able to curl a heavier weight or do you want your bench, squat and deadlift PR’s to increase?
Once our broad goals are refined to more specific goals, we are then onto our Measurable part of goal setting. Begin by asking yourself, “Can I measure results or progress?” If the answer is yes, then proceed. If the answer is no, then we have not refined our broad goal enough. If you want to lose weight, the scale can measure how much weight is lost . Numbers do not lie, and they also play a huge psychological part in holding us accountable. Also, ways to track our progress are very important. I suggest keeping a notebook. If you want to lose weight, weigh in on a specific day and a specific time and keep track weekly. If you want a specific lift to increase, track the weight, reps and sets every time that you perform it weekly. That way if we take a step forward or a step backwards, we can learn from our mistakes or our accomplishments and move forward again. This will take our broad goal and break it up, and we can track what we are looking to accomplish, and revisit it on a week to week basis.
The “A” in S.M.A.R.T. stands for Achievable, or in other words, can you do it? If you want to become more active, but your friends and roommate are very sedentary, do not let them hold you back. Go out and get what you want! The common thing that I always tell my clients at this part is that they need to figure out their “Why." This means they need to take a look in the mirror and find out why they want to achieve this particular goal. If someone wants to lose weight, they well say their “why” is to look better in a bathing suit, but it is usually much deeper than that. It will usually create an emotional response. This is something that you will need to work on as you go, and remind yourself during times of challenges and setbacks. It's a great motivating force that keeps you on track to reach and go beyond your goals.
Relevant goals answer the question, "should it be done?" For the vast majority of people, the answer is already YES! The only time that the answer could be no is if you had a goal like, “I want to be taller”. Although this would be great, it is not actually realistic and we need to redefine our specific goals.
Time-Oriented goals are very similar to being in school and our teachers telling us that we had an assignment due on a particular date. This is our deadline, and goals are essentially dreams with deadlines. Without a deadline, or a date to an assignment to be turned in on, would we really ever get it done? More than likely we would not. If your goal is to get stronger and you have not lifted a weight in 5+ years, then I would not suggest doing the power lifting competition in May. Here,we are looking at stepping stones. So where do I want to be in a month? Can I increase my squat by ten pounds in a month? Absolutely! Can I increase my bench by one-hundred pounds in a month? Probably not, but what about in eight to ten months? More than likely! Set realistic monthly or bi-monthly goals, then revisit the broad goal and ask yourself, “What did I do in the last month to achieve my goal?’’
These steps will help you set goals, and work towards them. Progress is progress, and setbacks happen, just keep moving forward and working towards that S.M.A.R.T. goal. After all, did you really understand how do long division the first time they explained it? Me either, but we all kind of figured it out eventually, maybe even had a little help along the way.
If you have any questions or would like to talk about your personal fitness plan, reach out to your Fitness Specialist at Om Fitness Club. This article was written by Anthony Raschilla at LC New Albany Park in New Albany, Ohio. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.