So lets talk goal setting: Do you set them? How do you usually go achieving them?
I am a goal expert. Seriously. I set goals all the time. I research the best way to set them. I find information about how other people achieve their goals. I get excited when I hear a new goal setting study has come out and I implement all that information into my list.
I set goals daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. It sounds excessive, but that’s because it is. Without goals, I feel like I have no real direction. This is something I have been doing since 2014; I will write broad yearly goals to reflect back on and each month I will write some more refined goals. On Monday at the beginning of each week, I will write in my diary the things I want to achieve and daily I will write a to-do list which is basically another list of goals to achieve.
This is a pic of my diary from sometime in August last year, so you can an idea:
At the end of the day/week/month I reflect and write myself some comments on how I did. This is super important to do, because it helps you realise if you even attempted your goal, if you’re on the right track, or if you were able to completely smash the goal. Without getting some sort of self-feedback on my goals, I’m doomed to fail. It means that I usually forget them or I start implementing the wrong strategy and end up far away from my target.
A huge study by McEwan & colleagues (2016) looked at goal setting for adhering to exercise for the long term. They found that the following things are super important;
1. Medium Exercise Intensity
If the exercise is too hard you are less likely to stick to it. If you know you have issues with adherence, stick to moderate intensity exercise.
Imagine you walk into a gym on the first day with a goal in mind. ‘Today I will deadlift 100kg.’ Not only will you not be able to walk for 2 months, but you will FOR SURE never try to lift that weight again, and you’d likely never even come back. Make your goals moderate. Work hard, but not so hard that you’re going to get PTSD looking at a deadlift platform.
2. Set your own goals or work with a professional.
Going online and just picking the same goals that some other sexy fitness model is using, wont really help you get to your goal. This particular study also found that setting your own goals while collaborating with a fitness professional (to help moderate) is also a great way to get them done and to keep them relevant.
3. Set the right type of goals.
The study found that weekly goals combined with a daily goal work best.
I like to set a more broad weekly goal like “Eat more green veggies” and then couple it with a daily goal like “eat broccoli with dinner”. The goals sound silly and super simple, but trust me, it works.
4. Revise your goals weekly or fortnightly.
Self monitoring is suuuuper powerful technique and reevaluating your progress end goal is important throughout the journey.
If you don’t revise them, they are likely to become irrelevant and outdated overtime.
I made a goal at the beginning of the year to lift X amount of weight, but once I started getting close to that weight, I really needed to revise the number to make it more relevant to my progress.
5. Track your workouts via a fitness app or an activity log.
Seeing your progress over time will be a great tool for you to look back and see how far you have come. This type of self-feedback is very important and should not be overlooked. (Side note: this type of feedback is a not only good for adherence but it is a huge motivator & helps confidence).
The way I track is with my paper and pen. I tick or cross out what worked for me (and what didn’t) and I even write myself notes like “wow Ally, not even close” or “not again… :(“.. you don’t have to go that far, but it’s nice to do a little self-reflection sometimes and be honest with yourself.
6. Most importantly, make your goals specific and relative to you.
Make sure that your goals reflect you and who you want to be. Be realistic (but still don’t be afraid to set goals that might seem totally crazy), just make sure that they are relative to you and that you can see yourself achieving them.
Happy goal setting and in future achieving your goals!