Goal Setting – Setting TIME-BASED Goals!

Time for the last step of our goal setting series – setting TIME-BASED goals. We have made our goals more specific, measurable, attainable, and realistic so now we have to make a timeframe for them. Any goal worth making needs a cut off date. We all know that we are better at reaching goals when they have a deadline.

So with our weight loss example, we need to pick a timeframe that works for the amount of weight we would like to lose. Think about this in terms of 1-2 pounds per week as normal, typical, and healthy. If you want to lose 30 – 50 pounds that means you’re looking at 6 – 12 months instead of saying it’s going to be accomplished in 3 months, etc. This allows us to make sure we meet goals or get close in a reasonable amount of time.

With the marathon example, you need to make sure to pick a deadline that makes sense and allows for you to train properly. This will be dependent on your own fitness level starting out, etc. Just make sure that regardless of what your goal is that you make sure you pick a timeframe that allows for a true lifestyle change, not just a quick fix! Quick fixes pay off in the short term but many times we end up right back where we started and needing to start over and try a different way so keep working towards that progress, not perfection and keep pushing.

Stick to your goals and keep working! New series coming up next week so stay posted!

To review all the posts in this series check them out below:

Intro to Setting Goals

Specific Goal Setting

Measurable Goal Setting

Attainable Goals

Realistic Goals

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Goal Setting – Setting REALISTIC Goals

It’s time for the 4th step – which is a spinoff of the 3rd – Setting REALISTIC goals. We have already helped define our goals and make them more specific, measurable, and attainable. Before reading this segment, make sure to check out the post on setting attainable goals here.

So once we know our goals are attainable, meaning they aren’t within crazy time frames or tasks you are unprepared for, we need to make sure they are realistic. There are a couple of ways to do this. First, ask yourself if your goal requires you to cut out or change things that you won’t be able to do or that are too drastic? Are you trying to cut out too many things at once? Does your goal fit within your lifestyle? Do you have the time, money, and support for this goal?

As an example, if you want to lose weight through eating a healthier diet and exercising more, you should pick one thing at a time to cut our or add to your diet and start your exercise at a reasonable amount of time during a part of the day you can usually do such as early morning before everyone gets up, lunch break, or after work. For cutting out things, don’t tell yourself you have to cut out sugar, carbs, wine, alcohol, and drink more water, etc. all at the same time. While it is possible, it is extremely hard and will possibly lead to more slip-ups that may mentally make you want to give up faster. Master one change, then change another and keep going.

With the running example, you should set a realistic goal if you are just starting out or running half a mile, then a mile, then 2 miles, etc. and keep progressing rather than going out and seeing just how far you can go the first day and being so sore or injured that you can’t keep training.

Stay tuned to the last section in the next post where we wrap up our goal setting with how to set time-based goals. Remember that we aren’t aiming for perfection, just progress!

 

Check out the rest of the series here:

Intro!

Specific Goals

Measurable Goals

Attainable Goals

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Goal Setting – Setting ATTAINABLE Goals

It’s the 3rd letter of the goal setting series now so we’ve discussed having specific goals, measurable goals, and now we move onto ATTAINABLE goals! Also, make sure to check out the intro to this series as a starting point here.

So what does that mean? A lot of times we set goals for ourselves that are extremely large and sometimes out of our capabilities. We may say that we are going to reach towards a certain weight loss goal for instance that is just unattainable within a timeframe we set for ourselves. For example, I have had situations where someone comes in to the gym ready to reach their weight loss goals and they want to lose let’s say 30 pounds in a month. That is not going to be attainable in a healthy way – it could be done in unhealthy manners or extreme, drastic, supervised ways – but not in a club setting where we want people to lose the weight and reach their goals in a healthy, gradual, LONG STANDING way.

Taking the marathon example from the last post, someone who wants to run a marathon in the next 6 months needs to start training now. That goal is, again, unattainable in a safe manner, if someone does not choose to properly train for the marathon by starting in a timeframe that allows for proper training and not going too far, too fast and risking injury.

When you look at your goals for 2016, are they attainable for you in a safe and healthy manner? Ask yourself if they seem like something you can achieve and that you’ve given yourself enough time to complete them.

And remember the theme of the series, we aren’t aiming for perfection, just progress.

 

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Goal Setting – Setting MEASURABLE goals

If you’re just joining in the series make sure to check out these 2 first:

Goal Setting Intro

Setting SPECIFIC goals

Our next step is to take our specific goals from the last post and attach something measurable the to them so what do I mean? If we stick to the example before of having a goal of losing weight that is very vague, we need to attach a number (now some fitness professionals prefer not to use weight as that number). For that number it could be pounds to lose, it may also be a waist circumference, a size of jeans, etc. The problem that does come into play when we talk about weight loss is that pounds are not always equal in appearance. Yes, a pound is a pound in weight, HOWEVER a pound in muscle vs. a pound in fat looks COMPLETELY different! So if you are losing weight correctly, please understand that as you get closer to a realistic goal weight, the weight may not reach the number you want if in fact you are also doing resistance training and potentially (hopefully) gaining muscle as well. So I always suggest having a weight goal in mind (because let’s be honest, at least for most of us, we have that # in our heads  and it’s hard to get rid of) but also have a measure that isn’t weight such as fitting back into a certain outfit or jeans, etc. or having a certain circumference in the waist and hips (both of which are great measures of risk of heart disease).

By picking a number, a size, a pair of jeans, etc. we have now made our goal a measurable one that is now specific of losing “X” amount of weight AND fitting into our favorite jeans. That is both specific and measurable.

Maybe your goals aren’t related to weight loss and they are related to running your first marathon, then to be specific and measurable you need to say you plan to run a marathon on “X” date (go ahead pick out and sign up for one – just give yourself enough time to train properly) and then pick a time to finish in. I say this knowing that many of us (myself included) do NOT care about time in the least so my goals for half marathons were always to finish below a certain time but they were never anything super performance related – my goal was always to finish and not give up at first – that may seem vague but it is in fact measurable – did you give up? Did you finish? Did you run the whole thing? All of these are measurable.

Keep it up and keep moving to those goals! As always don’t strive for perfection, strive for progress. Perfection is the enemy of productivity so just keep doing your best and you’ll get there.

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Goal Setting – Setting SPECIFIC Goals

If you haven’t seen the intro post related to goal setting, check that out  here.

The first step in setting SMART goals is setting SPECIFIC goals. So what does that mean? It’s just not good enough to set a goal to lose weight or to get more fit. Great intentions, yes, but we need to be much more specific. Let’s take an example of wanting to lose 30 pounds:

Vague goal: I’d like to lose some weight in 2016

Slightly more specific: I’d like to lose 30 pounds in 2016

Specific goal: I am going to lose 4 pounds a month in 2016 and a total of at least 30 pounds for the year.

Now, there are several more steps to finishing a SMART goal but this addresses the specific part – how much is your larger goal and then a specific goal for a shorter time frame which sends me on a small tangent – it is GREAT to have large, awesome, amazing goals for the year and you SHOULD!, but remember that these have to be broken down into bite size chunks that are possible and don’t overwhelm us. If we pick broad, vague goals only, we have a tendency to fall into a situation where we will just give up because it seems to large or impossible.

This is not the year for that! 2016 is the year you are going to keep going strong and continue to push towards your goals even when you embrace obstacles and challenges! As stated in the intro, we aren’t looking for perfection, just progress always!

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Goal Setting – Set SMART goals and actually meet them!

Along with everyone else, the new year brings about a great time to also start working on resolutions, goals, lifestyle changes, whatever you want to call them – regardless of what you call them, the sad truth is that most of these – especially fitness goals – fall by the wayside by mid-February if not before then.

So, how do we make goals that we CAN stick to and accomplish? We set SMART goals. These are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Based. We bite off bite sized pieces that we can accomplish easily but with a slight challenge (because otherwise it’s not a a goal if it’s only super easy). Over the next 5 posts I will share with you how to keep your focus on these goals and how to make sure this is the year that they stick! Don’t be one of the millions who gives up when the going gets hard.

Here’s the reality – anything worth working for if worth working hard for! It’s always going to be hard to do something that we aren’t used to doing – which is why all change is hard – but we have to keep pushing through and realize that setbacks just set us up to be strong, stand back up and keep going to our goals. Too many people take every setback as a “sign” that it’s too hard and it’s time to give up and this just isn’t true! Keep you head up and keep working toward your goals – you don’t need to be perfect, you just need to be progressing.

Stay tuned to set your SMART goals and keep your resolutions going!

 

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