The Power of Goals
January has come to a close and with it many (even most) New Year’s Resolutions. Why is that? Why do most people abandon their resolutions or goals so early in the year? Perhaps it has as much to do with how the goals are structured (or not structured) than with the level of commitment to those goals. Resolutions and goals can play an important role in self-improvement, but only if they are designed the right way. This blog post helps you evaluate if your goals are designed for maximum benefit, talks about how 20Lighter uses goals to encourage client success, and shares a personal experience with a my January goal (everybody loves a video!).
So what does a well designed goal look like? Let’s review the components that make your goal a “good” one and what constitutes a bad or weak goal. A good goal needs to be clearly defined, quantifiable, and have a set timeframe. I’ll bet you know someone whose 2019 goal was to “lose weight”, and while it seems like a great idea, it is a weak goal. It is too ambiguous… and it lacks action and metrics. Lose what? How much? By when? If I take off my heavy sweatshirt before hopping on the scale, I am sure I can see a change in the number on the scale… but is it valuable? That certainly does not improve your health or appearance (unless it was that ‘lucky’ sweatshirt you only wear around the house). Be specific; define your goal in relation to the outcome you want. Next, make sure your goal is quantitative, not qualitative. How much do you want to lose? A half pound, two pounds, ten pounds? There is a big difference between a half pound and ten pounds… make sure your goal has meaning. Lastly, put an expiration date on it. When do you want to lose that weight? In a month, or by your birthday, or that upcoming class reunion? Let’s apply these guidelines and reexamine our original goal: wanting to “lose weight” now becomes wanting to “lose 10lbs of body fat by my upcoming class reunion on May 15th”. Now with this well designed goal you can include some checkpoints to make sure you are on track. You should be down at least 2.5lbs by February 27th, 5lbs by March 22nd, and 7.5lbs by April 20th to be on track, so add these milestones to your calendar. Make a plan of action and outline the actual steps you will take, things you will do (or not do) to lose the weight and reach these smaller goals that add up to success of the bigger goal.
Our flagship programs at 20Lighter start with well defined goals for each participant… lose 10lbs of body fat in 20 days or lose 20lbs of body fat in 40 days. The client and the provider track progress in the mobile app where body composition changes are updated daily and a graph populates helping clients visualize their progress in an easy to understand way. We know that some days are easy and some days are not so easy, such is life. But goals pull you up and push you through… the momentum of progress is so hugely motivating. Once clients see that they can and are making tangible progress towards their goal they get excited and become more engaged as the program moves along. Inevitably, rough days happen, but sharing your goals with others allows you to tap into them for support. Here is an exchange typical for this time of year, with the Super Bowl just a couple days away:
“Joe, you are down 8lbs on day 9 of your 20Day program. I know SuperBowl Sunday will be a challenge, but your 10lb goal is within reach and your stretch goal is 15lbs is coming into sight! Hang tough, remember this is about you and your health and I believe in you. So if you need some personal cheerleading just message me here in the app anytime on Sunday because I am here to help!”
Reiterating where one is in relation to the big picture, reminding them of their progress thus far, confirming that the result is within reach, and providing a support mechanism is how we help our clients through those hard days… the goal pulls them up and helps push them through the tough times. Perspective, motivation, empowerment… well designed goals help you succeed.
My personal January goal was to complete ‘The Winter Warrior Challenge’ with pretty well defined parameters: run at least 1 mile every day in January, outside. This goal tied directly into my bigger 2019 goal of running a half marathon in the Fall, and I decided to give it a go. Once I committed, my mind wandered to milestones and sub-goals… running more total distance each week, and ending with an average of at least 2.0 miles each day. Overall, I wanted to use this challenge as a way to ramp up my fitness after the Thanksgiving to New Year’s running hiatus without causing an injury. Some days it was not difficult to get out the door, as I was energetic and feeling motivated to complete my goal. Other days when I was tired, it was snowing, or downright frigid it was tough to get out there. To keep the challenge in the forefront of my mind, I put a printed calendar on the fridge and marked the mileage each day. I kept proving to myself that I was capable of more than I had previously thought, and more and more I wanted to see every day marked on that sheet of paper. Quite the feeling on January 31st when my calendar was complete and my mileage totaled 65.5 miles with each week showing a slightly higher mileage. I’m excited to see what I can accomplish in February with my new understanding of what I am capable of doing. I decided just before my first run to make this Winter Warrior Challenge one I would share with you, so I took a picture everyday while running and put together this 1-minute video to inspire you to evaluate the goals in your life and make sure they are helping you succeed:
Define your goals, set attainable endpoints, add checkpoints to gauge your progress, share with others, and keep your eyes on the prize. Nothing worth having in this life comes without sacrifice, be prepared to work for what you truly want! If your goals include improving your health, reducing your weight and risk of disease, schedule a free consult to learn how 20Lighter can assist. Helping people make tangible progress is what we do every day, let’s discuss your goals and how 2019 can be the year you make your health and wellbeing a priority.