Goal setting – how to set effective goals

Goal setting can be painless when you follow the right rules

We all have dreams and aspirations when it comes to looking good.

Whether you are open about your dream or not, I am guessing your goal is along the lines of “looking great for the summer” or “being spotted with washboard abs.”

I myself like to stick posters of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jay Cutler on my wall and look at them all day long. You might think that I am a little weird (and I don’t blame you), but the reason why I look at their posters everyday is because I know they all had a dream once. Jay Cutler wanted to become the best bodybuilder in the world when he was 18, and he finally fulfilled his dream in 2006. If you watch his videos, you will find that he is very meticulous when it comes to achieving what he wants. He measures and tracks everything from the amount of oatmeal he should be eating for breakfast to the amount of Branch Chained Amino Acids (mind you these are usually taken in 3 – 5 g doses) he should be ingesting after his workout.

No one is asking you to be Jay Cutler, but there’s definitely a good reason why he is doing all these tiny things.

You see, goal setting is a tool  for you to get from where you are right now to where you want to be. It is a planning process. Ever heard the saying “failing to plan is planning to fail”? Well this is exactly what it is. You want to go back to the drawing board and write up a plan for yourself that you can review consistently to make sure you are on the right track. So here is a crash course on how to set goals:

(1)    Break them up – instead of setting one giant goal (“look good at the beach”), try to break it down into smaller goals. Chop them up into daily goals so that you can make achieving goals a daily habit. I know how motivating and encouraging it is to reach my goals on a daily basis. It builds you up to the next day and brings you slightly closer to your final goal.

E.g. “consume 3,500 kcal today”

“eat 5 times a day; 60 g protein / meal; 100 g carbs for breakfast…”

“walk 45 stairs with speed interval setting level 10 on the stepmill”

(2)    Quantify them – it’s a lot easier to track numbers than to track what you think you see. Goals like “increase size of bicep by 0.25 inch” and “weigh in at 165 lbs” are a lot more attainable than “increase bicep size” or “have more muscles”

(3)    Give yourself deadlines – So you broke down your goals and made them quantifiable, what next? The logical step is to set up deadlines and a timeline for yourself.

Eg. 12 weeks out I want to be at 180 lbs, bodyfat level 12%; 10 weeks out I want to be at 175 lbs, bodyfat level 11.5% etc.

(4)    Make it realistic – Do your research and be realistic. If it’s simply impossible to drop 10 lbs of fat in 2 days, why set that kind of goal? You will only be discouraging yourself and that won’t do anyone any good.

(5)    Record them! – Write down your goals on a piece of paper / on an Excel spreadsheet so that you can really track your progress. If you keep on making mental goals there’s a chance that you will forget about the exact goal you set for yourself especially if it is very details.

(6)    Review them – What’s the point of setting a perfect blueprint for yourself if you aren’t reviewing it? Constantly look back and look into your goals. Micromanage is the what you want to be doing here. Are you doing everything correctly? Are you ahead of yourself? Are you behind schedule? Are you setting unrealistic goals? Are you sandbagging your goals? These are questions that you need to answer. Review them whenever you have time to keep it fresh in your mind. Remember, everything that you do right will bring you one step closer to your final goal.

It isn’t very difficult to achieve what you want with a clearly structured plan. For those who want to really get serious about making progress, goal setting is perhaps one of the things you need to start doing. For the absolute beginners, worry not, we will begin talking about training and dieting very shortly!

Do you set your goals effectively? Share in the comment section below

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