Setting Goals & Your Best Year Yet!

OK folks.  It's that time of year when we all jot down a load of New Year’s Resolutions.  There is something very powerful about the turn of the year from one to the next.  When we really think about it there’s nothing to stop us setting some goals on any day of the year, but this tradition or “habit” is a cultural one for many of us, and it is a great opportunity to start moving in a direction that is more powerful for you.

So how does it go for you?  Doe this sound familiar to anyone?  “What shall I go for this year?  Is that realistic?  Will I stick to that one?  I know - let's put "get fit....."

Well it is a VERY familiar goal.  The number of people that join the gym in a New Year is very significant.  You may have already seen the subliminal messages going out on social media and around you locally.  Special offers will abound for memberships.

So we guess what we’re trying to say is that this is a GREAT time to set some goals for the year ahead (but if you’re reading this in February there’s nothing to stop you taking control and following this advice on goal setting anyway)!

What is most frustrating for many people is getting past week 1 and sticking to their intentions!  We're here to tell you, that if you just make your list in a slightly different way, create some new habits and progress steadily with the right expectations, your chances of success are significantly higher than before.  So invest a little extra time in making your list this year, and really describe what you are GOING (not trying) to do in the year ahead :-)

The thing about goals are that you need to feel rewarded by their attainment, but you also need to be able to "enjoy the journey."  Many people split goals or resolutions down into a check list to make sure that they are suitable, and more motivational.

So get yourself some paper & pens, pencils, paint pots - whatever floats your boat.  The first thing we will do is a brainstorm of what you want to do.  It sounds obvious, but what you MUST do is write your goals / resolutions down! Take a good 10 minutes or more doing this.  Use different colours, put your favourite music on, turn up the volume, get right into it - remember it's YOUR life you're planning !

Make your ideas into a compelling list, draw pictures and doodles on them, make them fun - do whatever you like, but commit them to paper. Just write whatever comes into your head.  Do that first before you progress with this article.

You should have a good list.  Before we go to the next step, how does this make you feel? Just ponder on that for a moment and start to manifest how your life will be when you have achieved some or all of your goals!

Now take another colour pen (we like to use a big thick marker) and write H for High, M for Medium and L for Low Priority next to each one and rewrite the lists in High, Medium and Low Priority order.  Then for each list write Easy, Medium or Hard next to each specific resolution / goal. We want you to have a balanced list of resolutions.

Then we'd like you to pick your favourite Easy, Medium and Hard from each list, and start the exercise below with each of these.

Before we go on let’s just pause again for a second.  If this all feels like a lot of effort - have a word with your subconscious.  This is FUN.  You are planning a better you!  A more enjoyable life!  Really allow yourself to feel excited, and enjoy the process.

OK - for each of your favourite resolutions I would like to you apply the following technique to make sure that you have EFFECTIVE GOALS.  You may have done this before and it’s called the SMART technique.

SMART goals exhibit the following characteristics:

S - They are very Specific (a wider goal can be broken down into stages of achievement)
M - They are Measurable and have a means to track progress
A - They are Achievable
R - They are Realistic
T - They have a Time within which they will be achieved.

We want you to apply this to ALL of your goals.  To help you we’ve given an example of how to apply the SMART method to a common goal and one close to our heart - get fit!

GET FIT! can manifest itself in a New Years Resolution list in  a number of ways.  You could simply write - Get Fit.  Or you might write Join a Gym.

The problem with both of these is that Get Fit is not really specific enough.  Join a Gym may help you reach your goal, but there is no mention on how you will USE the gym.  You need to get specific.  So a good start might be:

"I will get fit this year.  This will make me feel healthier and give me more energy to accomplish my other goals.  It will give me a sense of achievement, and allow me to lose the 20 lb's I need to shift.  I will feel more confident, and will look great on the beach during my summer holiday.  My friends will comment on how well I am looking, and how my mood is elevated for more of the time."

Now that's specific!  You need to really understand your motivations for your goal (getting fit).  They will be different for different people.  Write them down so you are have a deep understanding of why you are going to do what you are planning.

So now we must make it measurable.  Specifically - how many times will you exercise per week.  What will you do and what do you see as the pitfalls in your plan?  How can you make preparations for when they occur, so you can stay motivated?  Also, getting “fit” isn’t just about exercise.  How will you modify your nutrition to feel amazing all the time and give your body the best building blocks for the new you? Write it all down.  Don’t forget you can go to for advice on every element of wellbeing at anytime.  It’s still all Free as we build our community :-)

Remember - if you are not used to exercise, be kind to yourself in the early stages.  If you are not joining a gym, but going running, then start by walking and build up gradually.  There’s nothing worse for motivation than running off at the pace you remember you could the last time you excerecised to find you are in pain, a world of suffering and aching badly the next day.  Take your time.  There is no rush, just consistency and commitment that win the day with this one!

Please also choose some activities that you like!  It makes everything so much easier.  Recruit friends and family to join you too.  You will be helping others and getting that motivational boost you need by sharing your progress.

So you may be feeling really motivated and writing "I will attend the gym every day for a year”.  That’s commendable, BUT - be honest with yourself.  Is this Achievable and Realistic?  Will you have the time?  Is it a good idea and does it give you sufficient time for rest?  It's often better to set a goal that allows you to overachieve.  Why not set a goal to go twice per week?  There's nothing to stop you going five times and having a feeling of massive overachievement!  We would recommend that you write something like this.

"I will attend the gym at least 2 times per week on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings.  As my training plan evolves, I will review this on a monthly basis.  If I manage to get to the gym in additional to this base commitment, then GREAT!  I will start with walking and progress steadily and enjoy the journey."

The above also includes an element of the T in Time.  It also allows some space for review and overachievement which will maintain your motivation and start to make your new lifestyle an empowering habit.

So let's go back to our original goal - Get Fit.  Well - another thing about goals, is that they work better if you have a target, and also if you have support.

How do you measure "Get Fit"?  It could be by weight loss.  It could be that you prepare for an event.  e.g. Run 5k, 10k, Run a marathon, do 50 press-ups, 100 press-ups, 1000 press-ups!  Choose your longer term goal, and aim for it.  Do another quick SMART check on it.  Is it realistic?  If it isn't at this point, then break it down.

There is NOTHING to say that you can't run 100k of you are committed to do so.  What you will need is patience and the ability to break this goal into more manageable chunks.  Aim for 1k.  Celebrate.  Then 3k - celebrate, then 5k etc.  You will get there in the end if you keep moving, are motivated and apply the principles above.  Also, if you decide that you want to change your goal, then change it!  As long as you are still on your path to “getting fit” then that’s great.

Finally - don't go for an "all or nothing" approach.  If you fail to hit any stage of your goal, it's a learning opportunity, not a failure or an EXCUSE to stop.  If you manage to get to the gym once in a week, revaluate your goal.  Why did you miss your target this week?  Do you need a friend to come with you for more motivation?  Are you getting bored?  If so change your exercise plan.  Variety is the key - don't just do the same thing week in week out - you will get bored.  All this should be fun!

So here is a summary and an example of a SMART goal to "get Fit".

"I will get fit this year.  This will make me feel healthier and give me more energy to accomplish my other goals.  It will give me a sense of achievement, and allow me to lose the 20 lb's I need to shift.  I will feel more confident and will look great on the beech during my summer holiday.  My friends will comment on how well I am looking and how my mood is elevated for more of the time.

My definition of fit is as follows.  I will lose 20lb's in weight slowly and healthily through exercise and moderation of my diet.  I’ll get my inspiration on a daily basis by researching my goal.  I will get inspiration from www.thestrengthtemple.comI will get my resting pulse rate down to 65 beats per minute.  I will train to compete in the local 10k run in September this year.

I will draw up a training plan on Monday and stick to this.  I will attend the gym at least 2 times per week, and take up Tennis and swimming to provide variety.  I will ask my friends to join me to provide a welcome social element to my training.

I will continuously check on a weekly basis that I am progressing toward my goal and will not be affected negatively by any setbacks, but will learn from them and change my plan to suit my needs.

When I achieve my goal, I will CELEBRATE,  evaluate the process, and see what worked and what didn't.  I will then be excited to set a new goal, and continue to enjoy the process and healthy habit of getting and being fit!"

Now apply this to your other goals.  DO NOT SKIP THIS PROCESS.

If you have chosen a goal you feel will be quite challenging (something like stopping smoking) then you can also draw on a very powerful technique we teach in this article:

Powerful Thought Game to Change your Future

We hope this has helped you.  If you feel that your friends would benefit, please send them a link to our article.

We want to help as many people as we can lead a happier more awesome life.  It's what gets us out of bed in the morning!  We can invest out time and do all our work in committing these techniques to our website, but it's so much more powerful if more people are exposed to it.  Just a quick click, cut and paste into Facebook or Instagram would be great, or use the share button at the bottom of this article.

Thank you in advance for sharing :-)

Have fun - and stick with it.  We'd love to hear your feedback, successes and setbacks.  You can do it.  We know you can :-)

In the coming year The Strength Temple will be releasing a number of programs to facilitate you progressing to an awesome life both physically and mentally.  Stay tuned for this by subscribing to our newsletter below.  We don't send loads of emails, just occasional summaries of our best content and we never share your data.

Our Director, Rich Davis used this technique to train for a Triathlon a few years ago.  Crossing the finishing line was an awesome feeling for him.  Here’s a picture we hope will inspire you to really commit to crossing your own finishing line - whatever that may look like.  Good luck and don’t forget. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.