Training without proper goals in mind, is like trying to win a race while running in place. So to optimize your training, you’ve got to set proper and realistic goals. For some, goal setting may be hard to grasp. Here I’m going to show you an easy way to set proper goals.
1) Start broad. What is your long term plan?
Sure you may want to lose that extra bit of fat or gain a little more muscle, but you have to plan for the long term. For example “One year from now, I plan to gain ten pounds of muscle” or “By the end of the year, I will run a full marathon in under X amount of time.” By starting broad, you give yourself the bigger picture of what you want to accomplish. This will also give you a good amount of time to change up certain things that aren’t working.
“The definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein
2) Break it down. How do you plan on accomplishing the long term plan?
Now that you have the overall picture, it’s time to look at the steps to reach your goal. So let’s say you want to back squat double body weight by the end of the year. How do you plan on doing that? Are you going to squat everyday? Are you going to max out everyday? It’s important to have smaller plan to get to what you want. If you want to back squat double body weight, plan out how you will do it. For example, adding five pounds each week to your best. Or doing extra reps at a certain weight. Whatever it is, make sure you stick to it.
3) Track your progress. How well are you doing?
Not everyone likes to track what they do at the gym, but if you want serious results, then you have to take goal setting seriously. By tracking your progress, you will have a better picture of your transformation because numbers don’t lie. If you want to back squat body weight, track the weights you use each time you back squat. If your goal is weight loss, track your weight weekly. Tracking your progress will also give you honest feedback on how ell you’re doing. If your numbers haven’t changed in a few weeks, maybe its time to change up your routine. An easy way to track your progress is by keeping a workout journal.
4) Set a (realistic) time constraint. When do you want your results?
It’s easy to say you want something, but its harder when you want something at a certain time. By placing a time constraint on your goal, you subconsciously push yourself past your comfort zone to get to your goal. But you have to be realistic of the time constraints. You can’t expect to lose twenty pounds in two weeks. A more realistic constraint is losing twenty pounds in 2 months. Then you can break it down even further to ten pounds in one month, then five in two weeks. Time constraints will give you urgency and force you to work your hardest.
5) Setting mini goals. What are things that I can do today?
Assess your current level of fitness and think of way you can challenge yourself today. Let’s say you want to run a 10 miles, but you can only run for 2 miles. Why not push yourself a little harder today and run for an extra half mile? Sure, it will be challenging, but you will feel great knowing you pushed yourself to a new personal best. You will now be a lot closer to reaching your 10 mile run. Setting smaller goals also lets you see your progress towards the long term goal.
6) Stay motivated.
Remind yourself why you are doing what you are doing. Always look at the long term, this will help you stay motivated and keep you from giving up. Motivation can also come from friends, family, and others in the gym. Tell people about your goals and they will hold you accountable for them.
Here is a template of goal setting
1) By next year I want to (set long term goal) (Ex. By next year I will weigh 150lbs)
2)To reach my goal I will ____________ each month. By doing __________ each week. (Ex. To reach my goal, I will lose 5 pounds each month, by losing about 2 pounds every two weeks)
3)Today I (weigh/lifted/ran/etc)_________. (Ex.Last week I weighed 200 pounds. This week I weigh 195 pound)
4)By the end of the month I will ____________. By the end of the week I will________. (Ex. I will lose 2 pounds by the end of the week by lifting weights and running for 20 minutes each day).
5)I can do_______ but I will do _____ on Friday. (Ex. I can run 5 miles today, but I will run 5.5 miles on friday.)
6) I want to (long term goal) because______. I told ____ about my goals. (Ex. I want to lose weight because I want to feel healthier and better about myself and to have better confidence. I told my friends about my goals.
There it is! Now go out and accomplish your goals!