Apr 26, 2016

The importance of goal setting

Time after time I have clients come to me on a spur of motivation to smash their health and fitness goals right there, right then. Perhaps they have had a health scare, seen something in the media or have an event coming up that they want to look and feel good for. More often than not, these goals that clients set for themselves are unrealistic so therefore put themselves at risk of not following through.

Effective goal setting is THE most important starting point of your health and fitness journey. As a results based trainer, I have developed a list of pointers to help clients and trainers set achievable goals:

1) Set SMART ‘Outcome Goals’:

Outcome goals are your ultimate goal. These are the desired outcome over a longer period of time and are what will keep you motivated and driven. You can have short-term and long-term outcome goals if you wish.

S – create specific goals that are relevant to what you want to achieve. Keep them concise and straight to the point.

M – make these goals measurable. Refine it down so that you can reflect and track how well you are progressing towards your goal.

A – make your goal achievable for you at this present stage in your life. I cannot stress this enough – this is YOUR goal and no one else’s.

R – is this goal relevant to you? When you are goal setting, list the reasons behind the goal and how it will relate to and improve your everyday life.

T – set yourself a time frame. If you are not training for a specific event, I suggest making your short-term outcome goal no more than 8 weeks away. This target will keep you accountable and stay on track, as well as allowing you to feel like you are making progress.

Example ‘Outcome Goal’: “I want to decrease my body fat (S) from 32% to 27% (M) in 8 weeks (A&T) so that I have more energy at home to play with my kids (R).”

2) Set SMART ‘Process Goals’:

Process goals are the steps you are going to take to focus on and eventually reach your outcome goals. Again, these must be SMART but are usually set over a shorter period of time and will continually change as you progress. These are best to be tracked more on a weekly basis, depending on your outcome goal. If you are unsure of how to develop these, investing in an experienced trainer will ensure you are setting the right process goals for you.

Example ‘Process Goal’: “I will commit to training 3 times a week for the first 4 weeks, making sure I hit my calorie target every session before I leave the gym.”

3) Set ’Behavioural Goals’:

Behavioural goals are the little everyday things that will help you complete your process goals. These goals are important and are easily trackable every day. Always relate these back to your process goal.

Example ‘Behavioural Goal’: “I will pack my gym clothes in my car the night before a training day to make sure I have no excuse to miss a session.”

4) Revisit these goals frequently

When motivation or direction is running low, reflect upon your original outcome goal. This will refocus and remind you of what you are doing and why. Ask yourself if it is still relevant and realistic to your current situation. It may be that you have already achieved your outcome goal and to stay consistent you need to update and increase the challenge.

5) Plan of action to tackle obstacles

Before you get started on your goal, make a list of possible obstacles which could arise and throw you off. Strategise and plan how you will overcome these. Whether it’s commitments out of your control or even just a mental barrier, prepare yourself and it will be easier to find a suitable solution. Remember – “Fail to prepare and you can prepare to fail.”

Example: “I stayed up late with the kids so I’m going to be way too tired to go to the gym after work tomorrow.” Solution – get up and go to the gym in the morning. Get it over and done with so you don’t have to think about it for the rest of the day. You’ll also get a kick of energy to start your day and help you make wise choices.

6) Don’t stress the little things

As much as it is important to stay accountable and on track with your goals. Any good trainer will understand that life sometimes gets crazy and all routine goes out the window. Don’t stress – this will pass! Stressing will only demotivate you and your goals will seem impossible. In periods of craziness, stay positive and keep reflecting on your goals to stay focused. Do as much as you know you can possibly do to stay on track. Whether this means splitting your training and doing half in the morning, half in the afternoon, or spreading out your targets over two days – something is better than nothing. Be honest and talk to your trainer about this. They will be able to look at your goals and help you strategise the best way to get through this crazy period. But remember – once the craziness settles GET BACK TO BUSINESS!

If you have any questions or would like some assistance with setting goals for yourself or a client, feel free to private message me (see Facebook link below).

Lizzie Baxter

IG: @lizziebaxterpt

FB: https://www.facebook.com/lizziebaxterpt/

– Senior Trainer at Anytime Fitness Frenchs Forest

– Bachelor of Health Science

– Anytime Fitness National Ambassador