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It’s Time to Start Rethinking Your Goals

February 17, 2016 1 Comment

100-Ways-to-Burn-100-Calories-FASTHard to believe but we’re already a month and a half into 2016. And if you’re like me, you’re checking off the days until spring finally arrives. It was about that same amount of time ago when many set their sights and aspirations on goals for the New Year, whether they were physical, financial, emotional, etc. As a fitness professional I’m really only qualified to coach/comment on physical goals, whether they be exercise, training, or nutritional. The good news however is that no matter what goals you make in life, the methods and attributes are the same. Or at least, they should be.

What is a Goal?

Sort of an obvious question but really, what is a goal? In this context, Webster’s defines a goal as “the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.” Goal setting then becomes the act of establishing a specific, desired aim or result. People set goals all the time but very few ever achieve them. Why is that? Are they too generic? Probably. Are they not specific enough? Usually.  Are they too lofty? May be. There’s always a reason or excuse for one not achieving a goal but it goes much deeper and is a little more complex than just simply stating a goal; that’s understanding and committing to the process.

Lesson Learned From a Young Builder

My son loves LEGOs! He builds and comes up with all sorts of creations on his own but he’s of the age now where he doesn’t need daddy as much to help him build the more specific sets, like a fire truck or dump truck. He takes the individual bricks out of their bags and follows the picture directions step by step until he arrives at the finished product. Sometimes he asks for a little help but mostly it’s just guidance to the next step – making sure he’s followed the directions correctly up to this point. In the end, he arrives with a new creation that he proudly built himself and will often deconstruct other LEGO toys to put them back together himself. Why? Because it brought him great joy; a sense of “I can do it.” He not only achieved his goal, he committed to the process, asked help if necessary, and except for perhaps a bathroom or snack break, never made an excuse as to why he didn’t see the new (or old) LEGO creation to fruition. And the excitement and joy on his face when he reached the goal? Priceless.

Commit to the Process

I imagine if you’ve ever achieved a goal that the “moment” in which you did lit you up inside and out. But if you’ve never achieved a goal, I’m sure the feeling of disappointment and frustration clouded any thoughts of excitement that might have been. There all are sorts of goal setting strategies, like working backwards from your goal; breaking things into small steps; setting time frames for achieving, etc. While they’re all good and effective, the common denominator in all of them is that there is a process towards achieving that goal and that you must commit to that process. It’s not about just writing it down, breaking it down, or speaking it out loud! It’s about committing to what actually has to be done, and for many, that can be the most daunting task of all. One of my favorite sayings is “to achieve something you’ve never achieved, you must do what you’ve never done.” To simply say. “I want lose 10 lbs.”, or “I want to be more toned” is nothing more than a statement. An example of a goal more succinctly stated would sound more like this. “I’m going to lose 10 lbs. by exercising regularly and making no excuse for skipping a workout. I’m going to be smarter with my nutrition and consistently be aware of my choices.” In the end, your choices are yours to make. But you cannot take those choices back so if a goal is that important to you, you will make more correct choices and less excuses. Excuses are the number one killer of goals because they are the admittance that you did not respect the process.

Some winning goal strategies:

  • Identify the “why”. Why is the goal important to you? What changes if you achieve it? What changes if you don’t?
  • Identify the things that are the most uncomfortable for you and attack them. They are the things that will continue to hold you back.
  • If you can come up with an excuse, know that it is an admittance of guilt to what you already know is wrong.
  • Ask for help. You success is dependent on you and you alone but it’s not beneath you to ask for assistance or guidance.
  • Follow the paths of others but do not copy. Everyone is unique in so many ways but to compare yourself to others is a recipe for disaster.
  • Take it a day at a time but always moving forward. There is no “holding” pattern.
  • Don’t simply focus on the goal; focus on the lessons in pursuit of that goal.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.



















About the Author:

Jeff Harrison is a fitness coach based in Pottstown, PA. He received a BS in Exercise and Sport Science from Penn State University and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), NSCA Certified Personal Trainer (NSCA-CPT) and ACE Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist (ACE-AHFS). Jeff's articles have been published in peer-reviewed journals as well as consumer oriented websites and magazines.

Comments (1)

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  1. Margaret M. says:

    Thanks Jeffrey. Loved the part about Legos and your Son.

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