Do you struggle with setting goals and following through your plan to actually achieve them?
’ll share a 5 step process that I use to help guide and shape my planning when it comes to achieving a goal. These steps can be applied to virtually any aspect of your life, it doesn’t matter whether the goal is diet, training or business related.
I’ll try to provide as much context and example as possible so that you can take these ideas and implement them straight away. It may seem like a lot of work but it is a fail-safe system that will keep you accountable and moving in the right direction.
Step 1 – Set a Goal
What do you want to achieve?
Do you want to lose weight? Would you like add 10kg to your squat? This is where you decide what you want specifically to work towards.
Why do you want it?
This can be a lot trickier but it is a very worthwhile process digging into the why of your goal.
Why do you want to lose weight?
Do you actually care or does it actually matter what number is showing on the scale?
You have probably equated losing weight to looking and feeling better in the mirror. You are probably thinking along the right lines but really you need to lose body fat not weight and the scales are not the best way to track that.
For the goal of adding 10kg to your squat, why do you want this?
Do you compete in powerlifting and want to improve your total? Do you want to improve athletic performance – for example acceleration or jumping ability?
Do you just like the process of getting stronger and want to see what your body is capable of?
All of these are equally valid but the clearer you are on the why will help shape and keep you on track.
When do you want it by?
You have to set a realistic time frame for your goal. This is where longer term goals can be split up into shorter term goals. It’s ok to have a long-term goal but I find if you break it down to 1 month, 3 month and 12 month time-frames then it will help you realise what you need to do right now to reach it.
Step 2 – Identify Key Behaviours or Habits
Take a moment to think about the people who are already living where you want to be or take the time to imagine yourself having reached your goals.
What does your lifestyle look like when you have achieved it?
Are you more confident?
What are the daily behaviours that are now habit?
Write down a list of behaviours, habits and character traits that you think are necessary to have achieved and be living your goal.
Sticking with the weight-loss example, is there a realistic role model who is similar to yourself that has achieved it?
Or what will your life look like when you are maintaining your new weight?
Write down those things and match them up to where you are at now. You might need to be prepared with your food 80% of the time, you might need to make healthier choices more regularly, you might have to be going to the gym 2 or 3 times a week and take part in more active lifestyle activities on top of that. Make a note of the things you think must be done and maintained, match them up to where you are now and now you have things that you can action on a daily basis to take steps towards where you want to be.
Step 3 – Set Process Goals
Now that you have identified what it takes to achieve your goal and you have worked out where you are now, you need to set small, actionable goals that will take you a step closer to where you need to be.
A process goal is normally a daily task or behaviour that will lead you towards your outcome goal you normally think of or set when goal-setting.
Before we dive into some examples, it might help to categorise your goals. For health and fitness goals, making separate goals that cover diet, your training and rest/recovery will help keep you motivated covering all important bases.
Let’s say you have identified that to support your calorie deficit you need to be more prepared when it comes to eating relying less on impulse and eating on the go. At the moment you don’t do any preparation and have identified that for you to reach and maintain your goal you need to be on point and prepared 80% of the time. The first step in this process might be setting yourself the goal of planning out your weekly shopping, making a list and buying what you need for what you have planned to eat. The daily actionable process goal could be to prepare extra at dinner so that you have lunch for the next day. These are small steps that should be easy to implement and follow that will take you that step closer to where you want to be.
Step 4 – Track Progress – Make an Adherence Chart
For each important category write down your one or two process goals that you will action every day on an adherence chart. In a way, this gamifies the process and helps set you up building confidence in your ability to achieve goal after goal.
Along the top of your chart you will have the days of the week and down the side will be the process goals, only 1 or 2 for each important pillar so that you can focus on what is important and not feel overwhelmed.
Every time you hit that task for the day, tick it off. As you build up ticks daily and then over the week you will be motivated to go on and keep making improvements. Once you hit a daily behaviour for 2-3 weeks it will start to become habit and you can progress that strand of the process goal to something a little closer to where you are going. Maybe after getting into the habit of preparing lunches, you can start to plan out your daily eating the night before on a calorie tracking app. That doesn’t mean you have to have all the food prepared, it just means you know what you are going to eat and when. This will help you make smarter choices and will decrease the impulse to snack as you know when and what you will be eating next. This allows you to factor in small treats or a variety of food because you know exactly how it will fit into your daily allowance.
Step 5 – Evaluate and Review
This is the most important step and will help keep you accountable as well as keep you on the right track. It applies to every step of the process.
Go back and review the goals that you set at step one, are they still applicable, is the why still important?
Don’t be afraid to take a side-step with your goals or change them as your ideas or what important changes.
Are the key behaviours and habits in step 2 still relevant?
Can you think of more things that have come to light that may actually be more important to reaching your goal?
How are you getting on with tracking and adhering to the daily tasks you have set?
Are you closer to where you want to be or are you still not managing to stick to the daily tasks you have set?
If you are struggling with sticking to what you have set then you have to consider if it is realistic?
Identify what is stopping you. It helps to remind yourself of the why you are doing what you are doing so that you have that framework for making better decisions from. Remember that some short term pain may be required for long term gain. That means you might need to show some restraint in the moment so that you can be happier in the longer term and achieve what you want.
Simple contact us now and we can sit down for a chat about your goals, where you are at and what steps you need to take to reach your goals. Click here now to get started.
Allan Young is a Personal Trainer and coach educator in Glasgow who operates Strength Coach Glasgow and is a 4x Scottish Champion Olympic Weightlifter.