Whether your goal is to lose weight, gain confidence, fit into those jeans or learn how to defend yourself, learning how to effectively set goals is key to achieving them.
The process of effective goal setting is not only relevant to your training, fitness or health regime, but is just as relevant for maintaining great relationships, building a successful career, and pretty much everything else in life!
Goals that are set correctly are referred to as SMART goals. SMART stands for:
Let’s look at some common mistakes that people make when setting goals, and how you can overcome these using SMART goal-setting:
1. ‘The whole shebang’ – A very common mistake is to set a goal that is so huge, that it becomes overwhelming when no immediate progress is made towards achieving it. In other words, it is a long-term goal, but viewed through short-term goggles. Goals like ‘I want to lose 30kgs’ or ‘I want to get a black belt’ are great goals. But because they take a long time, people often lose sight of them when progress is not made quickly enough. In other words, you goal does not appear to be achievable.
Set short-term goals that will lead you towards your long-term goal. Rather than just say you want to earn a black belt, set yourself a goal of getting to your first coloured belt within 6 months of training; now there is something tangible you can reach, see and almost taste! That is a much more powerful motivator than a faraway, grand goal.
2. ‘Digging deep’ – Often, goals are set on what can be considered a surface level. For example, wanting to lose 30kgs is a great goal. But if we dig deep you will find much more powerful motivators! In other words, ask yourself why is it that you want to lose 30 kgs? Is your goal relevant to your real needs and wants?
Let me give you an example: I once trained a gentleman who lost his wife to illness, and had two young kids. He wanted to lose some weight. But when asked a few more questions about why he wanted to lose weight, his answer changed to wanting to lose weight so that his kids don’t lose another parent. Which one do you think is a more powerful motivator?
3. ‘One day I’ll get to it’ – Goals that are not time-bound rarely get achieved. Make sure that your goals are set with realistic time limits, so that you are accountable to yourself! Saying you want to lose 30kgs without setting a time limit, makes it easy to lose accountability when progress slows or motivation wanes. Setting realistic and relevant time limits may require you to ask for help from a professional, such as a trainer or teacher. Make sure you do!
4. ‘Give or take’ – Goals like ‘getting fit’, ‘losing weight’, or ‘gaining skill’ rarely get followed up on. This is because it’s hard to know when you’ve achieved it. In other words, they are not specific or measureable. How fit do you want to be? Is it to be able to run a marathon, or to play a full game of soccer, or to keep up with your kids when playing in the park?
The more specific you are, the higher the chance you will meet your goal.
I invite you to consider your current training situation. Do you have a clear set of SMART goals to keep you motivated and accountable to yourself? If not, come and speak to me and we will get you on the right track!
Stay safe, stay tuned.