Goal Setting- You Create Your Journey!
Goals. They can make or break you. They can define who you are, good or bad. They can open doors to new adventures and new opportunities or they can close you off from the rest of the world. How and why we set them is of the utmost importance; the path we choose to reach them will be an important chapter to your life. WARNING: be prepared!
Looking back, I set the goal of becoming a figure competitor and taking on the bodybuilder lifestyle for the wrong reasons. I can say I chose the wrong path as well. Luckily for me, I learned and grew from that chapter in my life. SO WHY set goals? We set goals to improve, right? Financially better, physically better, better at relationships, better at… something. I chose a new fitness goal out of boredom with my old routine, out of unhappiness with other areas in my life outside of fitness. Becoming a figure competitor and adopting the regimented bodybuilding lifestyle could replace my miserable career, bad relationships, and bring me happiness.
So I made this goal without doing my homework and got lost along the way. With a stressful job and already more than a year into yo-yo dieting and over training for contests, anxiety hit me hard. In my worst conditioning yet, I ironically won my pro card with the World Natural Bodybuilding Federation. Goal achieved? Not quite. I had to change my perspective and knew I could not ever use that card without fixing my metabolism. I wanted so bad to be a champion. A professional athlete and a title holding champion. Guided by 2 amazing coaches, I’ve learned to pace myself, break my goals into smaller achievable pieces, be realistic and about how to reach them, and deal with the roadblocks that may get in the way.
Because I want to be able to help you reach your potential and deal with things that may get in your way, I’ve come up with some important tidbits for you to take away from my story.
- Write down your goal and why. Making a journal is so incredible helpful, so use this as your first page! Your goal should be SMART. If you have heard of SMART goal setting, it can be applied to any area of your life, not just fitness. It stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Also, it is important to be aware of yourself and know what motivates you. If you have a goal you have reached in the past, remember what motivated you to get there and how you felt once you achieved success! Jot that down as well. Put this goal in places you can see it daily. Maybe you post a note on your fridge, or create a computer or phone background with your goal written out or a picture of something that inspires you… This will keep you working on your mission when you start to shift your focus elsewhere.
- Set a plan! Be aware of your starting point and a reasonable time frame it will take you. If you are unsure, ask a fitness professional to measure you, weigh you, and test you fitness abilities, so you can formulate what is safe and realistic. Have them help you come up with a plan that works in your schedule and you can commit to achieving!
Use a goal calendar and log your progress as you go! Break your goals into do-able pieces. For example- My goal is to lose 25lbs in 6 months. You can break that down into monthly goals and weekly goals, so roughly 4 lbs per month and 1 lb per week. Highlight those “due” dates. This makes your larger target seem a bit less overwhelming.
List making and writing is a huge helper! And nowadays everyone has a smart phone and you can use apps to track your progress. Breaking up your goal into small pieces helps with overwhelming feelings and anxiety that may come with road blocks. One thing I learned from my coach that I live by everyday…if you are feeling overwhelmed, just do what you can do in 2 minutes and take that off your list of small goals for the day!
- Find support! Funny when I tell my own clients, I have a coach and see their reactions! Yes, I am super motivated and driven. But I need guidance and accountability too! Finding my coaches was one of the best decisions I ever made. While I had hired them for a diet and training plan, I took advantage of their wellness coaching/mental counseling portion. I had regular phone counseling weekly which allowed me to vent and work through roadblocks in manageable chunks. I was taught stress relief techniques, time blocking, mindfulness for eating and everyday life, how to truly become aware of myself and control my thoughts. I took my large life changes and goals (both fitness and career related) and chipped away at them without feeling overburdened and anxious. It doesn’t mean the journey wasn’t a challenge, but it made it enjoyable and rewarding! Without the support of my coaches I don’t know where I would have ended up!
- Success! Once you have reached your main goal, it’s time to reward yourself and set new ones! When it comes to fitness and diet goals, I’ve found food can be a potential disaster when used as a reward. Instead, use things like new clothes, basking in new found confidence and self-satisfaction, a trip to the spa, enjoying a new level of strength and vitality, or a trip to the beach to show off your new body. And BONUS…we all are given a freebie reward…a lesson learned! You can take what you learned along your journey and use it towards your next new objective. Discovery and enlightenment are far more rewarding to me these days than a new Lululemon tank or cupcake!
So go out and start your own adventure, or revise one that has thrown you some roadblocks. Wherever you are heading, readiness and guidance to get there are key! In 14 months after building a plan and getting the guidance I needed, I not only fixed my metabolism to function like a furnace, but won my first 2 pro shows and landed 2 titles. And what is even better than becoming a world champ??? Along the way I found a career that I love and meaning in life. I bet your mission will bring you unexpected surprises as well. Until next month…