“The victory of success is half won when one gains the habit of setting and achieving goals”. – Og Mandino
If there is one thing I’ve learned about being in a fitness community, it is that it is constantly changing. There are so many different schools of thought and it is often hard to keep up with. Did you hear that a high fat diet is now a good thing? Anyway, as we change and adapt to these new thought processes, so do our goals. Whether it’s to bulk, or cut, lose weight, gain weight, whatever it is, you can apply the same rules.
I am constantly setting new goals to improve myself. Not just in fitness, but in every aspect of life. In doing this, I have noticed that when one area of your life starts to take shape, the rest of your goals become easier to achieve.
For example, I recently completed a 21 day fitness challenge with a group of ladies. Since we all are being held accountable by each other, we become much better about controlling our instincts. I consistently notice myself wanting ice cream after dinner less and less until one day, I don’t even think about it. Then I realize, “wow. I accomplished something big!”. It’s such a great feeling and I began to crave it. Then I started to think about other goals I had for myself. Saving money. Not fitness related, but a goal all the same. So I went to my husband and told him I didn’t want to spend any money on coffee for a week. For those of you that know me well, you know how much of a struggle this would be for me. I went a week and a half, you guys *insert happy dance here*.
So how you do you start? The first step seems simple, but can often be the hardest one! You ready? Here it is…
Step 1: Define your goal. Where do you see yourself next year? It is so easy to get caught up in what is happening right NOW that we forget to ask ourselves this question (or you could just be extremely impatient like me). Really think about this question. Do you want to feel comfortable in a bikini at the beach? Do you want to buy your first home? Whatever it is, write it down and keep it in a place you will see it often like your bathroom mirror….or if you’re like me and you’re honest with yourself, your refrigerator door.
Step 2: Start small, but be precise. A lot of times when I set a goal for myself, I am so eager to just go all in and give 110%. That’s an easy way to get burned out fast. Did you notice that my goals above were small? Stop eating ice cream after dinner, don’t buy coffee for a week… they are small and precise. Setting a small goal makes you realize that you can do hard things and makes you next goal not look so intimidating. Do not set goals like “I want to drink less diet coke”, say “I will drink 1 diet coke a week”. When you say I want to drink less diet coke, that becomes a relative term and doesn’t help you consistently get better.
Step 3: Know your weaknesses. I used to work a stressful retail job and every night when I got home, I would eat an entire bag of potato chips to cope. Not a great habit for many reasons, but it wasn’t great for my weight loss goal especially. I knew that if I had potato chips at home, I would eat them because, let’s be real, you can’t just eat a few potato chips. So what did I do? I stopped buying potato chips. I realized that I still wanted something salty and crunchy, so I switched to almonds. It did the trick! What is your bag of potato chips? Remove it from your sight!
Step 4: Challenge yourself. What’s that quote I keep seeing on coffee mugs? “Change begins at the end of your comfort zone”? Yeah that’s the one. It’s true. Once you’ve conquered all of your small goals, it will be time to accomplish some big ones, but you’ll be ready for it! Know why? Because you’ve been practicing for them this whole time!