During this time of year, you will be bombarded with articles, YouTube advertisements, and flashy ads on your Instagram feed about the new diet trend, inflatable equipment, and get-fit-without-really-trying programs. They were there last year and they’ll be there next year. Every January 2nd people will pour out their liquor – not the expensive stuff – delete DoorDash from their home screen, and attempt to get after it.
All of those ads and articles share one fundamental premise: you HAVE a goal. But it’s rare to find a “how-to” on setting goals or creating a plan on how to achieve them. The reason? Probably because that would actually be beneficial and, therefore, not in the best interest of the Fitness Gizmo people. A person with a clear goal, properly designed, is already passed the gaga of the advertisement. They are interested in what will work and will be the most intelligent use of their time, money, and desire.
You could put us into some basic categories: the “lose weight” category, the “get big” category, and the ever-interesting “not die” category. From the Fitness Gizmo perspective, these categories make it easier to peddle their wares. But even a casual glance will reveal that no two “lose weight” goals are the same because no two people are the same. They have different reasons for doing so, different life circumstances, and different past experiences that have molded them into who they are. The father of three who wants to “lose weight” and the college sophomore who wants to “lose weight” share the “calories in-calories out” law, but the similarities end there.
To accomplish your goal this year – or any year – is to clearly define what that goal is, analyze it, ensure it’s worth pursuing, and most importantly, continue choosing that goal in the face of adversity.
Everyone who’s read anything Stephen Covey – or was it George T. Duran? – will be aware of SMART goals.
Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, Time-Related
To make things more confusing there’s
Significant, Meaningful, Achievable/Attainable, Relevant, Trackable
Don’t forget SMARTER, SMARTTA, SMARRT, CLEAR, PURE, and CPQRRT (really, that’s a thing).
This is fitness. This is your LIFE – that’s not an acronym, I’m just using all caps to make my point. Let’s get passionate – and logical – about setting goals and walking the path to achieving them, no matter what.
PRINCIPLE ONE: THE GOAL OF A GOAL IS TO MAKE ONE HAPPY – THE POWER OF “WHY”
Think about it: the goal – or purpose – of a goal is to increase your happiness. If it wasn’t, why would you ever make it? Answer: you wouldn’t.
Ask yourself this: if I accomplished this goal, would it make me happy? If the answer is anything but a HELL YES, forget it. It won’t happen. We’re serious. If the goal that you set doesn’t completely change your life for the better, it will get derailed – probably around March 1st. There are a near-infinite number of forces – Goal Eaters (™) that WILL try to pull you away from your goal.
- Decadent food will still taste decadent, more actually
- That 4am wake up for that morning jog sucks
- You’re still going to get invited to that cookout by the neighbors
- Your neighbor will still offer you an IPA – or fruity drink – and you’ll be quite aware that everyone has one in their hands.
- Did I mention that 4am wake up sucks?
- You’re almost done with that project and can’t quite leave the desk
- The couch will still be super comfortable, and you can’t miss the new Bachelorette
These may sound cute, but an entire Goal Cemetery has been filled because of a combination of the above – and many that were not mentioned. The Goal Eaters ™ (ok, so I don’t actually have a trademark on that… but I should!) will come at you relentlessly and without mercy. We can’t tell you how many goals have been buried in the sands of Cabo over the years. Therefore, as you write your goal, make sure that you want it – badly. Forget the “nice to have” goals. Forget the fantasies. Write the ones that must happen, the ones that will change your life, the life of your family, your work, and the type of human you evolve into.
Think about how achieving your fitness goal will domino into all those changes. Taste that new life. Feel those new clothes. See yourself running around with the little ones, or getting checked out by that person across the bar – assuming there’s a bar that’s open, and they can see more than your eyes over a mask. If doing this doesn’t give you goosebumps, erase it and write it again. If the power of “why” is strong enough, you’ll move mountains.
PRINCIPLE TWO: TAKE INVENTORY – THE GOAL EATERS
As we mentioned earlier, there are a near-infinite number of forces that will try to pull you away from your goal. Most of these are not new but only appear once you’ve decided to change your life. Usually, they are familiar and have been patterned – by you – over the years. You’ll need to identify them and try your best to document them. Some call this a “Personal Inventory.”
As opposed to writing out your goals, which is very exciting, this part is uncomfortable. You’ll want to skip it. Don’t. The feelings of unease it brings reinforce how important it is to do it.
- Why haven’t you accomplished this goal already?
- Why now? What’s different this time?
- Do you eat/drink when stressed? Happy? Sad? Bored?
- What are your vices? Why?
- Is your family on-board? Why or why not?
- What are the events that are coming up that will test you, and what will you do to pass the test and be successful?
Your questions are not limited to those, and as you can see, they can be piercing. When you look behind the veil and get real about what’s going on, you empower yourself to achieve the goal with a strong degree of certainty. Most people will rely on empty bumper sticker slogans and positive affirmations and hope that will get them through the tough times. Positive affirmations are wonderful, but without looking the Goal Eaters ™ dead in the eye, they end up being head-in-the-sand techniques. Book publishers know there isn’t a lot of money in the “Ostrich Technique to a Good Life” book series.
On these two principles, one can transform a goal from a “fantasy” to a target that WILL be achieved. Don’t be fooled by the low number of principles or steps. We could go on for another 10,000 words discussing techniques to help you set and achieve your fitness goals, but by trimming away everything down into these two, we’ve not only made it elegant, but brutally effective.
- Your goal – and the “WHY” behind it – should make your arm hair stand up and make you almost teary-eyed. This is your life we’re talking about.
- Confront all the Goal Eaters ™ in YOUR life. Itemize them. Go deep. You probably won’t like what you find. But remember, it’s these that kill goals. It’s not “laziness” or “gluttony.” It’s you vs. them until you’ve made it to the goal and can stay there. Remember that.
Now, put on those headphones, blast that “Rocky” soundtrack, and hit the iron. But do it with a clear vision of what you want to do, why you MUST do it, and having faced your Goal Eaters ™. Good luck and Happy New Year from Stark.