This time of year, is usually the time people set goals for the up and coming new year. However, many people struggle with goals because they don’t motivate them. Often, they are unrealistic, too challenging and overwhelming and make the person feel like a failure. As such, they avoid goals altogether.
Most people have heard of the S.M.A.R.T. principle helping you set goals that are:
- S – Specific – Choose something specific that you want to achieve. For example, rather than something broad like ‘I want to be fitter’, try ‘I want to be able to complete a 5km walk in 30mins.
- M – Measurable – When you quantify something it helps you identify when you achieve it. Compare wanting to ‘lose weight’ versus wanting to ‘lose 5kg’. If you drop 1g you ‘lose weight’ but is it really what you meant?
- A – Achievable – Avoid things that are so far fetched that they are out of reach and set you up to fail. For example, setting a goal to run a marathon, when you don’t even go jogging and never plan on going jogging, is probably not ideal.
- R – Realistic – Be realistic about what you are trying to achieve. Setting a goal of dropping ½ kilo a week is realistic. Setting a goal of dropping 8kg per week, is not.
- T – Timely – Giving yourself a deadline creates a sense of urgency and commitment that propels you to work towards goals. Set a specific date by which to achieve said goal.
All of these are absolutely true and correct. However, I would like to add two more things to consider when setting goals; choose goals that contain a reason, and ones that are about gaining something rather than losing something.
Attach the reason to your goal to increase motivation:
To help increase your motivation to achieve your goals, attach the reason you want to achieve them. If you don’t fully relate, identify with and feel passionate about the reason for which you want to achieve something, you really won’t put too much effort into achieving it, so more than likely, won’t achieve it.
The best way to do this is using the following template for setting your goals:
“I want to achieve……………… so that I can…………………. which will make me feel………………… I want to achieve this by DD/MM/YYYY”
If you follow this template, it will make goal setting so much easier, more motivating and help you keep pushing on those tough days.
Focus on things you want to gain, rather than lose:
Let’s face it, losing things is never fun or motivating. So, setting goals like I want to ‘lose 5kg’ may be what you want to achieve, but it isn’t very motivating. In fact, most people feel horrible during this process!
If you set goals around what you want to achieve, you will achieve the weight loss goal as a by-product if that is your goal.
Here are some examples of goals where you focus on ‘gaining’ rather than ‘losing’ or ‘dropping’:
- Increasing your energy levels so you can run ‘x’ kilometers in ‘x’ time or get through the day without a nanna nap
- Being able to lift ‘x’ amount of weight, so you can feel stronger
- Complete ‘x’ amount of reps, so you can feel stronger
- Improve your health by eating 4 nourishing clean meals per day
- Increase your fitness by participating in 4 exercise sessions per week
- Be able to complete a Chin Up, so you can feel stronger
- Complete an entire 45-minute training session without stopping for a rest, so you can feel fitter and healthier
Focus on the behavioral things you can action, that help you gain something. That is far more motivating.
And finally, when you achieve your goals, ensure you celebrate them! Don’t let them go by with a simple, ‘awesome, next…!’ Set yourself a celebratory reward for when you achieve your goals. This could be a dinner out, a massage, a new dress, anything that will make you smile and feel good about your success. Your own personal pat on the back. This will further increase your motivation.
When you learn how to be your own cheer leader, you will be kicking back-to-back goals in no time! Let’s do it, goal kicker!
- Coach Terri