One of the most important things I have learned in my life is how important it is to set goals and be working towards achieving them. The times when I have felt the most unhappy and lost were when I had no goals to aim for.
A big part of creating a healthy lifestyle is setting goals that will improve your health and quality of life. Working towards those goals and crushing them will help boost your confidence and motivate you to continue your fitness journey.
Since goals are so important, I’m going to teach you how to set goals and how to achieve them. These tips for success work for all goals you have in life, not just the health related goals.
Tip #1 Write it down!
Goals that are not written down are just wishes.
I have a horrible memory for most things. If it is not written down, it will not get done. I live by my to do lists and calendar. Ask me what I did yesterday and I will most likely give you a blank stare while reaching for my list of crossed off items.
Goals are much the same- if it’s not written down you will struggle to remember it. If you don’t remember your goal then you won’t be working on it and you will never achieve it.
I like to write my goals down on an index card or a post-it, then stick it somewhere I will see it EVERY day, like the mirror in my bathroom or on my end table next to my side of the bed. If I see it, it’s on my mind. If it’s on my mind, I’m much more likely to do it!
Write it, see it, think it, do it!
Tip #2 Know Your Why
Knowing your goal is important but so is knowing why you set the goal in the first place. I’m not just talking about, “My goal is to lose weight because my doctor said I had to.”
Sure, that may be a part of the reason I have the goal to lose weight, but when those cupcakes in the breakroom at work are looking really good, imagining the doctor shaking his finger and telling me no isn’t going to keep me motivated. Sorry doc, it’s just not!
So really take the time to think about why you are setting your goals. What is your current motivation? Why is this important to you? Why this goal and not some other goal?
Maybe I want to lose weight so my health improves so I can live a long life and be around to help raise the grand kids I will have one day, hopefully not in the near future, though I do have two teenagers.
Picturing sad faces of little kids who can’t see grandma because she had a heart attack at age 50 after eating too much crappy food and not being active enough is much more likely to motivate me!
So take your why and write it on the back of your goal. Put that goal on your mirror or where you will see it daily. When you are struggling with your goal, flip over your goal, read your why, get motivated and crush that goal!
Tip #3 Specific, Actionable Steps
Every goal should be broken down into smaller steps that can be accomplished. If your goal is to run a 5K in 30 minutes, how do you plan to do that? Most goals need steps that help you feel like you are making progress towards that goal.
You don’t go from being a couch potato of 10 years to running a 5K in 30 minutes overnight. It takes time, it takes effort, and it takes smaller steps that get you going in the right direction. So once you have your goal & your reason why, create your plan to reach your goal!
You don’t need to spell out every single detail, but you need to have enough of a plan that when you get off track or feel lost you can see where you are at and how you need to move forward.
Every night I knew I was on track, or what I needed to focus on to get back on track the next day.
Tip #4 Be Consistent
Success doesn’t come from what you do occasionally, but from what you do consistently.
It doesn’t matter so much how fast you get there as it does that you are making progress on a continual basis. Even small steps forward are steps in the right direction.
Consistency builds momentum and speed. Think of a snowball rolling down the hill. It may start out small and insignificant, but as it keeps going it gets bigger and bigger and cannot be stopped.
Your steps and your goals do not have to be gigantic, they just need to keep you moving forward. Work on your goals every day, just a little a day and you will knock them out of the park one day.
You want to be able to do 100 push ups. Start with 5 a day. Then add 5 more. Then add 5 more to that. Eventually you will be able to do 50 push ups at once, then 60, then 80, then one day 100 push ups at a time.
Don’t abandon your goals. You can accomplish amazing things. Don’t set limits on what you can do!
Here is an example in action.
When I started to create a healthier lifestyle for myself, I knew I wanted to lose 25-30 pounds. I wrote that down. “Be under 155 pounds before my 40th bday.” Long term goal, I was 38 at the time, currently 39.
What was my why? I wanted to be able to keep up with my kids and enjoy doing physical, active things with them like hike, bike, canoe, skydiving, etc. I wanted to be able to do those things without restrictions or limits. I had let me body go and simply sneezing would pull a muscle in my neck or walking the dogs I would end up stepping wrong and have a sore foot for a week.
I wrote down “better health to keep up with kids” on the back of my card as my why.
How to go about doing that held me back for a little. Then I discovered what worked for me- five 20-30 minute at home workout videos a week, eat five small meals a day of balanced nutrition, and finding a support group that helped encourage me and keep me motivated.
Specific, actionable steps. Got my workout in today? Check. Followed my nutrition plan by eating 5 balanced meals today? Check. Hopping into my challenge group and letting everyone knowing how I did and check how they did today? Check.
Consistency is still a work in progress. I have good days and bad days, but overall I am heading in the right direction.
So what are your goals? What are your why’s? How are you going to get there from here? Show up every day ready to be consistent and you will be moving in the right direction to succeeding at your goals!