Goals are something that we all are constantly working towards whether we consciously set them or not. For me, I always set them in my mind and sometimes write them down but have felt like they never wrap up, or get fully achieved. I’ve come to realize this means I was not committing 100%, allowing myself to slip up and not be accountable.
With the energy of the New Year, I started thinking about ways to take my goals more seriously when I received an email from my CrossFit gym for a free, 15-minute goal setting session. I scheduled it and basically explained the above to my coach. Physical and health goals are common obviously around this time of the year, but we also talked about considering mental goals a well so we can truly focus and not become overwhelmed.
If you’re like me, you may have a lot of things you want to focus on – and think about these more frequently than just during the hype of a new year. Here are some tips that I’ve found over the years that really help to keep it simple so you can focus and actually achieve what you want to do.
- Pair Goals Together. Things like fitness and eating well, for example, are large categories that can live on their own but when paired together, can deliver the best results. For example, my fitness goals in 2017 are to: Go to CrossFit 3 days per week, Yoga/mobilize 1 day per week and focus on balanced muscle use. My nutrition goals are to follow my macro nutrients perfectly and eliminate alcohol for 1 month. When paired together, my food choices will be properly fuel my workouts so I can perform at the best levels. Doubling up the right way can actually make the “work” towards your goals easier. Ever heard the phrase “work smarter, not harder”?… that’s what I’m talking about here.
- Learn To Fall In Love With The Process. Unfortunately we are not wired to constantly focus on the long-term and as we know, that’s what achieving goals is all about. Knowing it’s a long-term journey and not a destination helps us develop habits that contribute towards our goals consistently. Once you ultimately come to peace with and accept the long-term journey, you remove one of the largest roadblocks and open up an endless source of energy, motivation and personal growth.
- Track Your Results The Right Way. Tracking your goals somewhere outside of your brain is the first step, then it’s a simple equation after that. Daily / Weekly / Monthly / Quarterly. Depending on your goals these could vary between daily and weekly, however the monthly and quarterly are NOT optional. They are the key to seeing our progress. Here it is in action:
- Write daily. Write whatever comes to mind + something that can be done today towards your goals. This can be small or large, just get it done that day.
- Photograph or write down weekly progress. Weekly progress is especially important for fitness related goals as we don’t typically see our daily progress, however when compared to a previous photo, we can notice slight changes. If you don’t have fitness goals (which I believe everyone should), you can apply a weekly practice by writing down a summary of things you achieved or would like to in the coming week an added checkpoint.
- Measure Progress Monthly. This is absolutely necessary with any goal you set; trust me I know from experience that if you do not check in to measure progress you will never feel completely achieved or satisfied. When setting your goals, establish 1-3 ways you can measure the results. For example, fitness and food related are easy to track because we usually set goals in numbers like eating X amount, or increasing weight lifts or workout times by X. There are also many tools like tools like myfitnesspal, food scales, heart rate monitors, fit bands, sleep trackers and so many more to help us track consistently and accurately – which are the major factors to measuring results.
- Refine, reset / adjust every 3 months. That’s only FOUR TIMES PER YEAR. Spending time to dive deep into the goals you are working towards will set you up for a life-long journey of achieving goals. Why? Because leading up to this bullet point, you’ve established daily, weekly, and monthly ways to build new habits that will allow you to be successful with whatever you envision for yourself. But since what we want changes, our mindset and environment and so many other things in our life are always changing, we have to keep our goals up to date with these feelings. Four times per year also allows us time to evaluate our schedules as we move through different seasons and what they may demand in other areas of our life with work, family and other commitments. Taking this time up front ensures that we make time for ourselves over the next three months, continuously repeating this to create a goal-oriented lifestyle.
Tracking your goals is how you see progress in its true form. I don’t think enough information is shared on this topic because it seems simple, however it really is most important of all – which makes it important to give a little extra light to.
I know this post is running a little long, but it’s a topic that I feel very energized about… breaking through the same old stuff we always hear about ‘Setting Goals’ to reset the standard and introduce tips that are simple and work. The methods above are what I now practice and have finally seen the results of whatever it is I’m working towards.
Through the trial and error of figuring out how I can work best on myself and my goals, the number one thing I learned is you have to believe. It sounds like the simplest tip at first, however it’s especially hard to track because it’s a mental goal. Believing in yourself and what you’re working towards is easy and comes naturally on the “good mood” days – and is the most powerful tool to keep going on the tough days too. Try tracking your thoughts and positive affirmations to keep this energy alive.
I hope you find these tips helpful and wish you the best with your goal setting!