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Simple and Effective Goal Setting

When I start working with someone I find the most difficult area to get them to ‘buy into’ is goal setting. Most people think this is the easy bit. “My goal is to lose 14lb”, I hear this daily. If it were that easy then why would anyone need a coach? We’d all be in the best shape of our lives and Instagram would be plastered with photos of us looking svelte and inspirational.

Unfortunately this isn’t the case. It would appear that goal setting has become some sort of hidden art with only a few enlightened gurus who truly know where to find the answers.

Think about it this way though, everything you have right now was once a goal. You set goals on a daily basis without even realising it. You follow an unconscious decision making process in everything you do. If you can do this unconsciously, just imagine what you could achieve if you actually sat down and formulated a plan.

| Now there’s a novel idea

Here’s a simple process for you to follow when considering setting goals for anything:

Answer these three questions to help you formulate a plan to help you achieve your goal.

  1. If you could wish for anything, what would it be?

Focus on the ONE thing you want. If you try to take on too much then overwhelm sets in, which is a future topic for discussion. Make sure you set a realistic time frame too, you have to BELIEVE you can reach this goal.

2. What’s the best possible outcome?

What does #1 give you?

Let’s say you do want to lose 14lb, this would mean your clothes would fit better, you could go for long walks, which in turn would have a positive effect on your mental health, you won’t get out of breath using the stairs. These are all things linked to how you will feel as a result of achieving that ONE thing.

3. What obstacles might come up?

List the obstacles that will show up as you start your plan towards your goal. A few examples could be:

“My partner doesn’t like the healthy food I want to eat”

“My busy job doesn’t give me much time to make the right food choices”

“I have kids who take up the little time I have to myself”

“I’m a very social person and like to eat out with my friends”

“I eat junk food when I’m tired or stressed”

You’re going to focus on ONE of these obstacles but before you do that consider the following:

| Are these obstacles internal or external?

External obstacles involve other people or a situation where you have control over your reaction. If your partner doesn’t want to eat healthy food then that’s fine, it doesn’t stop you. If you like to eat out a lot then choose a healthy option, a lettuce leaf and some service charge should do it ;)

Internal obstacles are YOUR obstacles and will likely be where your focus needs to be directed.

| Are these obstacles real or imagined?

You’ll often use your external obstacles to let yourself off the hook so you can say you gave it a shot but there were just too many variables. These are created by your imagination to save you the trouble of blaming yourself for not really trying. Hello old friend.

The real obstacle will only involve you, and your reaction is going to be automatic, as if the outcome were inevitable. This is where the next step is designed to help you identify your reaction before it happens and put a plan in place to change the result.

4. Plan

We’ll take the internal, real example from above:

“I eat junk food when I’m tired or stressed”

This could happen anywhere at any time so you’re going to need to have a plan that works in any situation, something like:

| If [obstacle] … then I will {plan of action}

If [I get stressed] … then I will {close my eyes and take 10 deep breaths}

If [I get tired] … then I will {use my meditation app for 10 minutes}

The more complicated you make this the less chance you will have of changing your outcome.

When it’s simple you can easily turn this into your automatic reaction, it becomes just something you do.

Then the outcome to the original goal is inevitable

Written by

Strength Coach, Business Owner, Online Trainer, Former desk worker helping people regain their movement capability to improve their quality of life

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