There’s nothing quite as motivating and inspirational as setting a goal.
As a child I would proudly stand in front of my parents and proclaim any number of life aspirations; from becoming a footie star, an engineer, or a statue (I was an odd child).
I’d be so confident upon my declarations, and would spend the next 5 or so days working towards my target; whether that meant dribbling a football around in the garden, planning and building some Lego structures, or standing really still.
But you could always be sure that within 7 days I’d have moved on from my original plan, and was already pestering my parents to sign me up for karate lessons or a street dancing class, or some such nonsense.
As a child such hopping and switching of dreams is common, and a laughable trait of an adventurous youth.
At a certain point though, once you stumble into adulthood, such flip flopping on your direction and goals becomes a little less cute, and a touch more unproductive.
And yet it’s accepted so much within the health and fitness realm.
All too often we either hear our friends say, or mutter the phase ourselves “I’m going to get in shape” (whatever that means).
And within a fortnight our bold claims have been pushed to the back of our minds, in lieu of the joys of inactivity and poor food choices.
But why is it oh so common for us to set goal, only to fall woefully short before we’ve really made any headway?
We aren’t starting with the end in mind.
Discipline Trumps Motivation
We’ve previously discussed the nitty-gritty of setting a goal you truly believe in– but to surmise if you need a refresher; it needs to be something you want to achieve.
Not your partner, friends, family or society- your goal must be motivating because it’s going to make you feel a certain way, no one else.
Now once you’ve identified that aspiration, finding the motivation to take action in the short term is easy (just picture in your mind’s eye the moment you’ve achieved your target- think about how you’ll feel, and the effect it’ll have on your life).
Visualising your goals is a vital aspect of finding the motivation to chase them.
However motivation is short-lived.
You want to know a dirty little secret that most Instagram stars won’t tell you?
They don’t wake up every day excited to get to the gym. They aren’t, no matter what they might say, always ‘super excited to get to the gym’.
So how do they persevere and train so regularly?
They set their actionable targets whilst they were motivated, and they have the discipline to stick with it.
You Need To Identify The Actions That Will Bring You To Your Goals
And just as importantly, these actions need to be achievable…
I don’t only mean achievable from a practical sense. Obviously you can’t train at 6am, 8 days a week.
I mean achievable from a realistic perspective of yourself.
If I’m feeling really motivated to reveal my abs for a summer holiday in 3 months, and whilst I’m riding that wave of enthusiasm I tell myself I’ll train twice a day, 6 days a week and will follow a strict diet 24/7?
Yes, that would probably work really, really well.
If I could stick with it that is. Which if I’m honest with myself, I know I couldn’t.
Ignoring the prospect of burning out from a physical perspective (let’s assume my programming and nutrition was 100% on-point and well prepared so I don’t over train)- from a psychological standpoint? There’s no way I’ll be able to maintain such a schedule; the social isolation alone would make such an endeavour too unappealing for me to commit to.
I’d probably end up giving up after a week or two, and become demotivated.
That wouldn’t happen however, if I were realistic with my expectations from myself.
I can objectively say that if I want to look great for a holiday in 12 weeks, I need to train. Ideally I’d love to commit to 3 or more days a week.
So with that in mind, I’d check my schedule out, and see where I could fit those necessary days of training is – whether that be before work, lunchtime or in the evening.
These are your non-negotiable training days; so make sure they’re achievable.
Now what other actions, atop my 3 training sessions, will help me reach my goal?
Yep, you guessed it – you’ll need to look at what’s achievable for your diet.
This can be as simple as making sure you’re taking nuts and fruit as a mid-afternoon snack to work instead of the crisps, or meal prepping on the Sunday so you haven’t got to grab lunches on the go.
There are countless possible adjustments you can make- so acknowledge which are achievable for you, and write them down.
For example for my fictional holiday in 3 months (which I’m beginning to think about actually booking now, I’m making myself jealous!), my goals might be as follows:
- I will eat a protein and fat breakfast 6/7 days of the week
- I will drink 3 litres of water per day
- I will not have more than 2 black coffees each day
- I will take a protein shake to work for if I get hungry
- I will only have a take-away once a week
- I won’t eat distracted, and as soon as I begin to feel full, I’ll stop eating
The specific adjustments you might need to make will be dependent upon your goals and circumstances, but the key is creating ‘rules’ you know you’ll be able to adhere to.
Act Like The Person You Want To Become
It’s a fairly bro-move to quote the comedian Joe Rogan, but I’m going to do it anyway: Be the hero of your own action movie.
That is to say; once you’ve identified your goals, and the behaviours needed to achieve them, be brave enough to step up and act that way.
Take the action that you’d admire if someone else were to do the same.
It’s not always going to be glamorous.
You never see the part in the Rocky montage where he gets 8 hours of sleep every night, drinks lots of water and has to get back on track after a ‘slip up’.
But these are all part of the journey.
The key is to know that you won’t always want to go to bed early.
You won’t always want to drag yourself to the gym.
And sometimes you’re going to miss a workout, and eat a slice of cake.
But if you’ve got that goal in your mind? If you’ve visualised the feeling you’ll have upon completion, and if you’ve set up the behaviours and discipline to reach that dream?
You’ll get there.
Just remember to start with the end in mind, and act exactly like the person you want to be- your body will catch up 😉
‘Starting with the end in mind’ and visualising yourself having achieved all your fitness goals is a powerful motivator to take action and ‘be the person you have to become’ to get there.
This can be a difficult concept to grasp at first, but by reading the above article a few times hopefully it will begin to make sense and you’ll be able to understand the benefit in this approach.
All of our comprehensive personal training programmes do include help with the mindset and motivation components – including visualising your goals as if you’ve already achieved them – to ensure you’re successful in achieving your goals.
We offer a complimentary consultation so you can find out more about these programmes and how we can help you achieve the results you desire.