5 Tips to Help You Set and Reach Your Goals
Have fitness goals, life goals, or both? I’ve got you covered, goal digger!
As a personal trainer who owns a fitness company, I’ve helped my fair share of people set and reach their healthy lifestyle goals. Today, I’m sharing some of the most important lessons from their journeys to help you on yours. Are you a goal digger? Well, get your goal and notebook ready for these 5 tips that will help you successfully accomplish your current mission.
1. Dream BIG, but start small
I love encouraging my clients to set big goals and challenge themselves, however, we always break their journey to the literal — or figurative — finish line down into smaller steps.
This is my first tip for you for a reason!
As empowering as it can be to achieve a goal that started out as a dream, tackling a mission of this size all at once can be crippling. Avoid giving up on your aspiration before you get started by breaking big, crazy, dreams down into smaller, more manageable goals.
For example, running a marathon is a huge accomplishment and something many people only dream of doing. However, setting out to run your first marathon a month from now, if you’ve never even run one mile before? I love nothing more than helping people start a running routine, but if you came to me with that dream? I’d tell you a more realistic goal would be to set the Guinness world record for the person who got injured the fastest and would probably refer you to another trainer!
If you were willing to break your marathon racing dream down into smaller milestones — for example, starting with a goal of completing one mile without stopping — then we could talk. Future, stepwise goals might include running a 5K race and then a few longer races before finally attempting 26.2 miles several months later.
Even if your current dream isn’t fitness related, it’s important to spend time creating a plan that includes smaller milestones to hit on your way to your big accomplishment.
2. Set SMART goals
Once you’ve transformed your dream into a series of smaller goals, it’s vital to make your goals SMART.
Don’t worry — this doesn’t mean your goals have to go and get a PhD.
SMART is an acronym you can use to test how appropriate a given goal is for your current fitness level and situation. As with tip one, this strategy applies to both fitness and life goals.
SMART goals are:
Following the guidelines in the SMART acronym will ensure you’re successful as you break your big goal down into smaller steps. For more tips on setting SMART goals and some examples, see THIS post.
3. Get outside support
Whether you choose to work with an accountability buddy or a personal trainer, it’s important to seek support as you set and reach your fitness goals and personal goals.
If you don’t have a friend who has had experience achieving the healthy lifestyle, personal, or professional goal you’re working on, you should definitely consider working with an expert even if it’s only for a few sessions.
Professionals can help you figure out if your goal really fits the SMART requirements for your current level. They can also help you consider factors you might not be aware of as a beginner that will make your success more likely.
For example, successfully achieving your dream of running a marathon obviously requires running, but should also include a consideration of your diet and the other two components of a well-rounded fitness routine, resistance training and flexibility training.
Strength training that’s specific to the needs of runners and a flexibility routine that includes foam rolling and targets muscle imbalances common to runners, like this yoga for runners sequence, will help you reach your goal sooner and avoid any potential setbacks.
An expert can also help you set more realistic, healthy goals.
For example, while many people come to me for help losing weight and hoping to lose a specific amount of lbs or kgs in a given amount of time, I always try to encourage them to change this goal. Instead of focusing on a number on the scale, I try to have them set a goal to lose inches.
Like many of my clients, you might have to think differently to follow an expert’s advice, but it’s worth it!
It’s one reason why I love running my Drop 2 Sizes Challenge program.
Program participants are guaranteed to drop two dress or pants sizes, IF they commit to not using their scales and incorporating strength training workouts with dumbbells that weigh more than their purse for the duration of the 10 week program.
As you can imagine, this is NOT advice that many clients want to hear or even believe in at first, but the results are wonderful! The participants who place their trust in this untraditional program (at least compared to those promoted by the diet industry), graduate making real, lasting lifestyle changes.
Even if you don’t have a fitness goal, I recommend working with an expert. No matter what their field, if they truly know their craft, they can help you break through the buzz of the tabloids and click bait articles so you can achieve longterm success.
4. Don’t let one off day derail you
One of my clients’ favorite gifts is THIS.
It might seem insignificant to you at first glance. When clients make this comment to me, I almost find it insulting. After all, I’ve given some of them gifts that required postage for them to enjoy!
But I know why they love it.
One of the biggest reasons why people stop working on a fitness goal is that they miss one day that turns into two days, then a week, a month, and suddenly a year or more has passed since they had a regular fitness routine.
Having a visual, like the calendar I’ve created, prevents this process from happening.
Miss a day? It’s just ONE day!
Look back at all the days you WERE successful and make a plan so you can start again tomorrow and avoid or prevent whatever kept you from your goal.
5. Setting and successfully reaching your fitness goals will help you with your life goals
In addition to giving you more energy, focus, and creativity that you can use to achieve your life goals, the process you use to help you reach your fitness goals will undoubtedly help you reach your life goals.
While my first few tips are SUPER important and apply to most people looking to set and achieve goals, this one is a little more personal. Understanding the unique way you stay motivated to work on your fitness goals can help you create a personalized framework you can apply to setting and achieving other goals.
Finding and keeping your motivation for a big dream or small goal requires you to be in touch with your big WHY. Dig as deep as you can and get personal. Why do you want to lose weight, run a marathon, or start a business? Answer this personal question and you’ll have your reason for getting out of bed to do what you set out to accomplish even on those tough days.
It may seem counterintuitive to add another to-do to your day, but when it comes to fitting in fitness, the benefits extend beyond the initial time commitment. Fitness goals often take less time to reach than other life goals. Experiencing a few quick “wins” from mini fitness missions you’ve completed can help you build the confidence and momentum that will help you achieve seemingly unrelated personal and business goals. It’s no coincidence that many of the successful women I interviewed for my book added a fitness routine to their full schedules after starting entrepreneurial ventures.
What’s your current fitness dream? How can you break it down into smaller goals? Have your fitness achievements impacted your other goals? I’d love to hear your insights and I’m sure they’ll help another reader. Be sure to share them in the comments:
Catherine Basu, MEd is an ACE-Certified personal trainer, the owner of Fit Armadillo®, and author of Superwomen Secrets Revealed: Successful Women Talk About Fitting in Fitness and Dare You to Join Them. She has zero tolerance for diets, supplements, and detoxes and not just because she’s a huge fan of gluten-FULL bread, but lots of love for those new to fitness. An avid runner, she has competed in races from the 1500m to the full marathon, and loves helping others start a running routine.