Do you ever think about your life a year or five years from now? Is it the same as it is or do you see it differently? Unless your life is absolutely perfect then you have things you would like to change. In order to facilitate those changes you probably have goals. A goal is defined as the object of a person’s ambition; an aim or desired result. I want to lose 10 pounds or I want to make more money are examples of goals. The average person knows where they are now and knows where they would like to be but struggle trying to get there. Goals help give us focus and move us forward improving our lives.
There are five key components to consider when you create a goal.
- Goals need to be written down – Research shows that people who have goals written down are 5 times more likely to achieve them. They say a goal not written down is just a dream. You can carry a goal around in your head for years and never act upon it.
- Goals need to be specific and measurable – “I want to lose weight or make more money” are vague. Goals that are specific and measurable provide you with focus and tracking capability so you can measure your progress. You can build short-term goals within a long-term goal that will help you feel successful and stay motivated along the way.
- Goals need timelines – Without establishing a timeline, you really are still only hoping to get there. This will make the goal concrete and get you moving in a forward direction. Without a deadline, it’s human nature to procrastinate and make excuses why today isn’t a good day to start.
- A goal must be realistic – “I want to lose 20 pounds in 3 weeks” isn’t realistic. Studies prove that ½-1 pound/week weight loss is best for sustainability and health. To create an unrealistic goal only becomes frustrating which will most likely lead to failure.
- A Successful goal must have significance for you – It has to have a “why” attached. Why do you want to lose 10 pounds in 10 weeks? Just because you think it might be fun to do? What happens when your friends want to go out for pizza and beer? Well you might say that sounds like fun and there goes your goal. When motivation wanes during the process this is what you will need to come back to. It will help to inspire you to keep reaching for the goal even when it gets tough. You may want to lose those 10 pounds because your mother died of heart disease and you do not want to suffer the same. Make the why significant.
Finally, there are two types of goals: outcome-based goals and behavior-based goals. An outcome-based goal is what you wish or want to accomplish. You have no direct control over an outcome-based goal. It either happens or it doesn’t because of the decisions you make along the way. Behavior-based goals are the behaviors you are going to put in place in an attempt to reach the outcome goal. These you do have direct control over. For example: “I want to lose 10 pounds in 10 weeks” is the outcome goal. Now, what are you going to do to achieve this? “ I will exercise for 1 hour three days a week” might be one of your behavior goals if you are currently not exercising at all. You can choose or not choose to do this exercise. You can’t choose or not choose to lose 10 pounds directly. Behavior goals are where you need to put the greatest focus. They are the behaviors that are going to get you to the bigger goal.
So remember the five key components for writing an outcome-based goal. Create a plan listing the behavior goals that are going to help you accomplish what you desire. Tuck away the outcome goal and focus on the behavior goals. Carry these with you and be consistent. Don’t give up even if you have a bad day. Wipe the slate clean and start again. You might just get what you are wishing for!
Jerry Scarlato is a Personal Trainer and Entrepreneur who lives in Northern Kentucky. He runs 2 businesses related to health and wellness: Thrive Fitness and Thrive Online. Jerry has been involved in the fitness for his entire adult life, including playing sports through college. Along with being an Entrepreneur, Jerry is a content creator,
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