We teamed up with elite endurance athlete and Xterra World Championships Racer Justin Kline to get his tips on how to make and keep goals throughout the entire year.
We all set goals for the coming year. The problem is that by February these goals are often forgotten and we fall back into old habits. But what if we could be smarter about our goal setting? What if we could set goals in such a way that it made it difficult for us not to achieve them? Doing this could have a huge impact on our lives.
The good news is that we can. All we have to do is be S.M.A.R.T. about it. Here’s how to set goals that we will actually stick to:
How to Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals to Dominate Your Year
Many people say they want to lose weight, get skinny, run faster, or some other goal that is as aspirational as it is vague. The key to success is to get specific and to dig deep into the reason why. Without the ‘why’ our goals lack the intrinsic motivator we need to keep us going when things get tough. It’s as much about understanding ourselves as it is about setting the goal. When we understand what makes us tick, we understand what it takes for ourselves to stay motivated. So instead of making your goal “I want to lose weight” get specific and come up with something like “I want to lose 10 pounds so I look good at my class reunion in April”.
You can’t improve what you can’t measure. Not only that, but measuring our progress is one of the best sources of motivation. In fact, failing to see progress is one of the strongest reasons people quit! It’s basic human nature. We get discouraged when we don’t see results. It’s important to understand this because the path to achieving so many of our goals often will not show visible progress at the early stages. For example, if our goal is to run a marathon we will have to endure weeks or months of NOT finishing a marathon first. If our only measurement of success is finishing a marathon then we will be enduring a grueling streak of failure along the way. However, if we take time to notice that every week our mile times are getting faster or that we can run further each week without stopping we will notice that we are actually making great progress towards our goal.
Side note: Don’t underestimate the importance of HOW you measure progress. Many times, people who are on a weight loss journey focus on the scale. Well, the scale can be a liar. If you begin eating healthy and working out, most likely, you will lose fat, but you will also gain muscle. We all know that muscle weighs more than fat so you may be getting healthier but the scale might not show it. This means even though you might be on the right path you still might get discouraged and quit. Instead, jump on the interweb, buy a fat caliper, or a body tape and do body measurements. You might be surprised how many inches you lose without really losing weight.
It’s easy to quit if no one is looking. The opposite is true too. It’s really hard to quit when you’ve committed to something in front of people. There are a few great options to hold yourself accountable. A Certified Personal Trainer can help you achieve you goals quickly and safely. They are an excellent way to bring 1:1 accountability and expert advice to your goal setting. However, many people aren't quite ready for that, so another favorite option of mine is Social Media. Announce your goals to your network and friends. It might feel uncomfortable, but I can guarantee you that it is nearly impossible to quit something when you’ve made that sort of public commitment.
If you’re still not ready for that then ask your BFF to apply a little peer pressure. Make a challenge or a bet with them.They are your BFF, they'll do it!
Don't go overboard with a goal you can never achieve. If this is new to you, start small. Always remember the imperfect plan that you follow will always produce more results than the perfect plan that you don’t!
Start small and manageable. For example, set goals like losing 5 lbs in 5 weeks or running 2 miles under 20 minutes in 6 weeks. The success of a small goal will snowball. Use that success as motivation to set the next goal a little bigger.
Give your goal a timeline or deadline that's realistic. You wont go from couch to marathon in 4 weeks. If you do, call me, I'm hiring. Maybe start a little smaller with running a 5K in 6 weeks, then 10K in another 6 weeks, then 13.1 mi in 6 more, then a marathon in 6 weeks after that. Set your goal, break it into little goals with a timeline and let your success feed your drive.
We set goals because we want to improve ourselves. But we must always keep perspective.
Remember... You Don't Need To Change Who You Are
It is a new year, we don't need to be a new person. The person you are is awesome. There are 365 days in a year. You don't have to accomplish the entire goal for the year in January. Remember, life is a Journey. You have to enjoy it. Be S.M.A.R.T., take your time and make 2019 the year you keep your goals.
Stay tuned to this blog for more tips and guides for performing at your best. And of course, if you want to fuel your performance at the highest level then definitely check our our highly caffeinated Megaton Coffee!