No more wishful thinking. It's time to take action.
At the beginning of every consult or sometime within the first week of working with us we have probably asked you ‘What are your goals?’. This, as for most, was likely a difficult question for you to answer. Maybe you did have a goal in mind and it was something like “I want to lose weight.” or “I want to get stronger.”. The problem is if we don’t have goals we tend to become complacent in life and if we do have goals like the example above they tend to be vague and hard to measure. Today I am going to teach you how to properly design actionable goals to set you up for success.
The one thing that will keep you on track…
The first thing you have to do when setting goals is to decide what is important to you. For those of you who have read my past articles you should already have an answer to the following questions:
What drives you?
What is your passion?
This is by far the most important thing to consider before setting goals. Without drive and passion, it will be difficult for you to stay on track. These can be difficult questions to answer when talking about health and fitness. What if you don’t like to work out or you aren’t thrilled with the food you need to eat? How do I find a passion for health and fitness?
The truth is you might not, and that’s okay. Finding drive and passion can initially have nothing to do with health and fitness. Your drive may be living an amazing thoughtful life to set the best example for your children and you may be passionate about an artistic endeavor.
Living a healthy lifestyle and setting goals around your health will facilitate your ability to lead by example and pass health along to your children and grandchildren. This will also enhance your brain function and lead to more creativity within your art projects. No matter what your drive or passion is I promise you it can be enhanced by living a healthier life.
Once you thoughtfully answer these questions you can reverse engineer your goals. By identifying your driving force or passion you can assess what in your life is helping/going to help you fulfill that and what in your life is holding you back. Living a healthy and fulfilling life is bigger than you. Dig deeper and find the true purpose behind your journey.
Now that we have an idea of what our true goals are I want to teach you how to write a SMART goal. SMART is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely. The more specific you can make your goals the more likely you are to achieve them. For example how specific was “I want to get stronger”? What if I instead wrote, “ I want to add 20lbs to my back squat in 6 months.” You will now notice that this goal statement is also measurable and with an appropriate time frame, the goal will also be attainable. Now I do not find the need to write out a sentence for each letter of the SMART goal as many people tend to teach, however, I do want you to ask yourself if the goal meets all of the criteria.
After your SMART goal is complete you will then write 3-5 actionable steps that will help you achieve that goal. These steps will be things you will do daily or weekly (depending on the goal) that will positively contribute to the attainment of your goal.
I also want to emphasize that although we tend to focus on health-related goals you can use this framework for any aspect of your life. Are there things you want to achieve at work? Do you need to spend more quality time with your family? Is there a new skill you want to learn? I don’t recommend creating goals for every part of your life right away as it will be challenging, however, if you start with 2-3 and follow through with them it will be much easier to set more and harder goals next time.
What drives me/What is my passion?
What drives me is optimizing my health to live a long disease-free life and my passion is teaching others how to do the same.
Positive Aspects (what is helping me get there?)
Eating real food
Consistent training schedule
Mindfulness and breathing practices
Negative Aspects (what’s holding me back?)
Not spending enough time learning.
Not understanding how to teach clients effectively.
Goal Statement: (slightly more general)
For the next 90 days, I will consistently train, eat healthily, and practice mindfulness/breathing.
Actionable steps: (This is where we can get very specific)
I will strength train 5 days a week.
I will eat 3 meals per day totaling 160g of protein, 150g of fat, 100g of Carbs.
I will do 10 minutes of meditation every day.
I will do 10 minutes of breathing practice daily.
I will spend 30 mins/day learning or teaching.
In this example, I combined my positive actions all into one goal statement and then wrote 4 actionable and measurable steps. Do this for both the positive and negatives and make sure that they are SMART!
Having all the knowledge in the world will get you nowhere if you are not intentional about the implementation. Setting SMART Goals will allow you to track and hold yourself accountable for any changes you are trying to make in your life. But most importantly these goals must have true meaning in the betterment of your life and those around you.
Movement is Medicine. Food Is Fuel.
One Day or Day One the Choice is Yours
Andrew Cataldo CSCS
Director - Performance Division