Happy 2019 everyone! We’ve been working lots lately, both personally and with our clients, around goal setting. As fitness and therapy professionals, we are trained in goal setting and how to make them SMART but having attended several seminars and workshops this year, we’re really learning how to drill down and set much more manageable goals which are easy to measure.
The great thing about it is that you can use it in any context. Health-related goals, professional goals and personal goals. Let’s make a start on the bigger picture, then work it down to something you can work on a practical level.
1. What Do You Want?
This is your ultimate aim. Let’s say you have back pain, for this example. You could say to yourself ‘my goal is to get rid of my back pain’ which is fine, but not that helpful in terms of giving yourself a plan and having the motivation to stick to it.
A more helpful suggestion would be to attach some emotion or feeling to your goal to help you really connect with what it is you want and to keep you motivated to achieve it.
A good way to tap in to what you really want is to have a think about what you don’t want, then switch it around to figure out what you do want. List it out:
“I don’t want to feel stiff when I get out of bed” becomes… I want to feel free from stiffness when I get out of bed
“I don’t want to have to say no when the kids want to play because of my back” becomes…I want to be able to play with the kids without my back hurting
“I don’t want my back to go every time I exercise becomes” …I want to exercise without fear of my back going
…you get the idea. So now we know what we want, we can start to figure out how we’re going to get there…
2. Make A Plan
So now you’re clear on what you want and why it’s important, it’s time to act. Take some notes:
What are the things you’re willing to change to make it happen?
Are you willing to invest time – how will you make time?
Are you willing to invest money – how much is it worth to you to get what you want?
How will you make it happen – will you work with a professional or will you make your own plan?
When would you like it to happen by – do you have a deadline?
How will you feel when you have achieved your goal?
3. Break It Down
This is where we get to the bare bones to drill in to what you need to do on a practical level to reach your goal.
Take your goal and bring it together with the lists you made in step 2 – e.g.:
“I want to be able to play with the kids without my back hurting”
I want it to happen by the time we go on holiday in October
I am willing to invest money and I can sacrifice 2 hours a week; a lunch break and one early morning when my partner is at home to take the kids to school
I will seek the advice of a professional as I have tried to do it by myself and I’m not sure what I should be doing
It will make me feel amazing. We’ll be able to enjoy our holiday and the kids will love playing with me, it’ll make them happy that I can finally join in with their activities.
At this point if you’re working with a professional, they can help you break your goal down, and help you understand whether your goal is achievable in the time scale you have in mind. If not, break it down further.
When we see a client for a consultation, we first establish what they want and then design a programme within a set time frame to work towards it. We’ll then set smaller targets to achieve each week, say ‘increase weights by 5% each week’ or ‘take a 1-minute break from your desk every hour to walk around’.
If you’re working towards something yourself, say weight loss, work it down into weekly aims which can be as simple as ‘bring a healthy lunch from home every day’ or ‘only have 3 packets of crisps this week instead of 5’. Simple, measurable and achievable.
Small steps may not seem like much, but ultimately they contribute to your larger aim and stop you seeing something as a massive change and fooling your brain into thinking ‘2 less packets of crisps a week? Sure, that’s easy’.
If you have a wobble in the process, revisit your reasons why, and why it’s important to you. Attaching emotion to something hits us harder than a generic goal and can be a real motivator in sticking to a plan.
So, what are your goals? Let us know in the comments!