Setting a goal can keep you focused and help steer you toward a particular objective. However to be successful at reaching your goal, it has to be specific, realistic and achievable. For example, let’s take the goal “I’m going to go to the gym every day”.
To be specific, the goal would have to be amended by adding two things: How long am I going to go to the gym every day? And what am I going to do once there?
A goal can’t be open-ended. It has to have a defined ending point. Otherwise with this goal, I’m going to the gym every day until I die! I terms of being specific, a better goal would be “I’m going to go to the gym every day for the next two months.” But as you’ll see next, that goal is not realistic.
To be realistic, I have to have a reasonable chance of attaining my goal. The goal of going to the gym every day is not. One of the generally agreed upon tenets of fitness is the body has to have at least one day per week off so it can rest, rebuild and repair itself. Our stated goal of going to the gym every day does not allow us that one day per week off. So from a realistic standpoint a better stated goal would be “I’m going to go to the gym six days per week for the next two months.”
From the achievability aspect, how much time each day do I have free that I can devote to going to the gym. Thirty minutes … 45-minutes … one hour? And what am I going to do once at the gym? With my stated goal, I don’t know. The current goal is to show up at the gym each day. Just going is not working toward a fitness goal. We have to have a specific plan of what we are going to do each day while there.
The Restated Goal
A better stated goal would be “I’m going to go to the gym six days per week for the next two months; four days will be a one-hour cardio routine each day while two days will be a one-hour strength training routine.” Now our goal is specific (I planned out and know which type of training and routine I’m doing each day for the next two months) realistic (six days per week at the gym with one day off), achievable (I have one hour each day to devote to exercising). See the difference? Specific, realistic and achievable.
Write It Down
The fourth thing with goals is they have to be written down and posted somewhere where you will see them all the time. Usually on the refrigerator is a good place as you’ll see them multiple times per day. If not written down, they are soon forgotten.
When stating a goal, don’t set yourself up for failure. Make sure your goal is attainable with a definite end result.