Ask any would-be gym goer what are her fitness goals. In order, they will be: tone up, get six-pack abs, and feel better. Most want all three and maybe a unicorn.
Of these, only one constitutes a good goal, but even the six-pack abs goal is full of holes. I know, you’re a special exception, but here’s why those goals stink…
To be a good goal for fitness, your goal should be measurably specific (six pack is a little subjective) but it should also be time-bound. Most importantly, it should one thing. You should write it down.
More than one goal is like having more than one destination when you leave the house. You might be saying to yourself, “but I do often have more than one destination when leaving the house.”
True, you can have more than one destination in your overall plan, but one of them is your first destination. It is first for a reason, either because it’s farthest from where you want to end up, so you can work your way without backtracking, or it’s something special.
In any case, you want to identify your goals in this way but forget the other errands… er, goals, for now. There is only one point B.
Make it Measurable
While “tone up” is on the lips of most goal setters, there is no measurable way to qualify toned. Toning is a marketing term created to sidestep talking about body fat, a word which most people find abhorrent.
Making “more toned” your goal is like taking your car to the mechanic then asking for him to make it “run better.”
There are many ways in which we can tip these scales towards their nonspecific goals, but none that we can measure better than just calling it what it is. Toned up means body fat loss.
Because no one who is trying to pack on more muscle will use the word toned to describe his goal. No one who want to run faster will list measure that in how toned she is.
You cannot chase goals you can’t define. Body fat you can measure. Muscle you can measure. You can also measure: lifting strength, jumping length, jumping height, throwing speed, scoring proficiency, speed… you get the point.
These are objective metrics.
Give it a Deadline
Hold your breath for two seconds by the time you finish this sentence.
See how that worked? Without any planning, you saw a deadline approaching then adjusted your plans to get to the goal on time.
Setting a deadline is like setting a goal. Once you know there is a deadline you will usually make strides to hit it, even if you procrastinate, then miss it in the long run, at least you will be aware that deadline is coming.
Another way to look at it is this: goals without deadlines are just good ideas.
How many time have you talked about what you are “gonna do,” only to later explain away why you never did. As in life, set time bound goals to stand a better chance of working towards your goals.
Write it Down
The value of goals, as with the value of your plans to get to those goals, are only valuable by your execution. An A+ plan with D- execution is really just an F in the end. You would be better off to make C plans, then have A+ execution.
Part of that execution is in having a simple plan, but also putting your goals and plans somewhere you will see them.
“Out of sight, out of mind,” is a cliche because it’s true. Instead, write down your very measurable, yet time-bound goal, along with your strategy and tactics, someplace you will see them.
Bathroom mirrors and refrigerators are a good place to start, but cubicles work too. Heck, go with all three. Tell all your friends too. You’re gonna need all the support you can find.
Making changes to your body is as hard as making changes to your life. You don’t need to be told that most will fail.
Many of those who make it will struggle to retain their new benchmarks. Nothing I could you will either motivate or deter you from goals you are determined to achieve.
If you would be deterred, then something else would stop you anyway. If knowing the deck is stacked against you only steels your resolve, then nothing I can say would convince you that you aren’t special.
You determine whether you or not you are special by your actions. Set yourself up for success by setting better goals.