I feel like it's been trendy that past few years to say you set personal goals. So trendy I feel like the process and value can be a little lost. Personally I am a huge believer in setting goals but it's the process I love.
All types of goals are beneficial; long term goals, short term, health based, athletically, socially, anything. You can not go wrong when start to map out what you really want to achieve but you need to understand how to get there. Making changes is hard, you need to know how to set yourself up for success and break down your goals into daily habits.
I get asked a lot about how I set goals. Specifically setting goals on improving nutrition, body composition, and improved athletic performance. Below is some information I've put together for people over the years and how I set goals with my athletes. Try it yourself and embrace the process. Small daily changes add up over time.
Reverse engineer your goal, start with the end product and mentally go through each step on how you are going to get there.
What's the big goal?
How will you know when you've achieved your goal? Be specific, not how will other people know, how will you know?
What are you going to do celebrate achieving your goal?
How long will it take?
What changes will you have to make?
How are you going to break these changes up daily, weekly, monthly?
What can you today to get one step closer to your goal?
No one is perfect everyone has a bad day. How will you stay the course when you have a bad day?
Here are some tips I've put together to help people in the past. These tips are geared towards the most common questions I get asked but they could be applied to anything.
Start Small - Depending on your nutrition level and your eating habits I usually start people off with one change at a time.
Preparation - This is key. Especially if you have a crazy schedule or work long hours. Again, it’s about setting yourself up for success that is key. I prep snacks, lunches, and often breakfast ahead of time once or twice so I always have go to quality food readily available.
Find 3 - 5 go to dinners you can cook easy that you like and are really healthy. For me it’s a quick fish and vegetables or quality grass fed steak with vegetables.
If you have a sweet tooth start swapping chocolate/sweets up for quality fruit instead. Organic dried mangos are my preference but any will do. I eat a lot of berries, Aldi and farmer’s market are great ways to get lot’s fruit for a good price.
Use my fitness pal app- Doesn’t matter how you eat, clean eating, paleo, If It Fits Your Macros, flexible dieting etc. putting everything you eat into an app and keeping track of your calories helps keep you accountable. It’ll also make you start to re-think some of your choices when you see the number of empty calories in certain food choices.
Plan ahead - plan out your meals for the week, plan out your grocery list. Goes with preparation, you're less likely to fail when you have a plan.
Get a workout partner to hold you accountable. Set 3-5 times a week to train with them. Schedule the training in advance weekly so you know when you have to be there. To be honest, ideally this person works harder than and you are trying to keep up with them.
Get out of your comfort zone, sign up for something that scares you a little. Make sure it is something if you don’t train for you’ll fail at it. I’m talking something you have to take 2-3 months to train for minimum. Tell all your friends you’re going to do it, signing up for something out of town works as well. If you’re spending money to make it into a weekend and traveling you're likely to take it more serious. Examples - Spartan Beast Race, Marathon, Crossfit Competition, Triathlon.
Work with a trainer - Sometimes people need to hire a coach to get through a plateau or rut. I’ve done it multiple times, usually once every few years I hire a coach to help me and hold me accountable.
This can be challenging. I believe the way you feel is truly the best progress monitoring tool out there. But I do understand people want tangible or measurable benchmarks for progress.
Aesthetically - I think measuring lean body mass is a better measure of progress rather than weight loss. (LBM = BW − BF- Lean Body Mass equals Body Weight minus Body Fat)
Fitness - Bench Mark workouts can be a good way to measure your growth. Get a baseline, train for two - three months, then retest them.
Nutrition - Myfitnesspal - app is great for this. I like it because it forces you to pay close attention to what you are eating. There "healthy" items out there with no so healthy amounts of sugar in them. You can see on a daily basis if you’re hitting your daily calorie, macro, and micro-nutrient goals.