We're often told to dream big. Shoot for the moon. Aim for the stars. And lofty goals are important to have but if we aim too high, we may very well miss celebrating the smaller ones we've accomplished along the way. It may seem counterproductive to set more reachable goals, but pulling back on the reins a bit means we can enjoy the success of meeting our goals sooner. And whenever we meet a goal it's time to set another.
Consider Your Goal - sometimes even the simplest of things can set us on the path to a desired goal. It might be a magazine article or an overheard conversation or it might be that we've witnessed someone else achieving their goal and now we're inspired. But before we jump in headfirst, it's important to take some time to consider what we really want and what it will take to get there. I like to think about what's involved first. It's important to count the cost. Every goal we set has a price. It might be paid in time spent, or perhaps you will need to make food sacrifices. Your goal might require other expenditures in equipment, workout gear, or gadgets, too. Consider all of that fully before making the commitment.
Make Sure the Goal is Specific - if a goal is too general, then it's easy to get off track or change direction. Instead, make it super specific. Which of the following goals is more specific?
- I am going to spend more time at the gym this week
- I will go to the gym 4 days this week
- I am going to go to the gym Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday.
Make Sure the Goal is Measurable - the more defined you make the goal, the easier it is to know when you have met it. Without some gauge as to what it takes to meet the goal, the more apt you are to fall off the path.
- Instead of "Butterfly Pullups"
- Try "5 Butterfly Pullups"
Write the Goal Down - A written goal represents a real commitment. And one that is written for others to see sets it even deeper. And having those that know your abilities seeing your commitment can be there to motivate, inspire and celebrate with you once you've achieved what you set out to do.
Work with a Coach to Develop a Plan - the desire alone for a Ring Muscle Up is not as effective as that desire mixed with a definite road map to that goal. Working with a trainer is the best way to success. If you are already working under their supervision, they know your current limitations as well as your strengths. Grab them after class, ask them for their guidance on how to achieve your goal then follow that plan.
Work Outside the Gym - if you attend group instruction classes, it is not always feasible to get class time to work on your goals. If getting that Ring Muscle Up is on your goal board but not on the whiteboard this week, it might be time to grab some equipment for home use. Some gyms have open gym time one day a week or more. If you can take advantage of that, do it.
Remember that there is absolutely no shame in scaling back fitness goals to meet your current ability. Very few athletes will see a professional team locker room yet that shouldn't stop us from keeping after it. At the end of the day you want to set goals that are reachable and realistic. And as you meet them, keep setting the bar higher. Keep within yourself and your abilities and celebrate your smaller victories one at a time.
Look Back on Your Progress - my last word of advice on setting fitness goals is to record goals and progress where you can look back on it. Go buy that $2 notebook and take just a few minutes out of each day to record some specifics about what you've done. It does not have to be elaborate or lengthy. Just write something down. Take a photo. And please put a date next to it. Or better yet, jump on to Google Blogger and start your own fitness blog. No one has to see it but you. But write 10-15 sentences on what you did. Then after you've met your goal, go back to the beginning to see where you started from. It's a serious motivator.
Thanks to +CrossFit Lawless in Estero, FL for setting a great example with their Goal Board!