If you’re SERIOUS about getting the body you’ve always wanted there’s one SIMPLE but CRITICAL step you MUST complete even before you press play for the first time. In fact, the majority of people are destined to fail even before they began their fitness program because they skip this very-important step!
This crucial first step is goal setting.
Now I know what you’re thinking. Goal setting? How BORING! Been there…done that!
Well, here’s the thing.
How many times have you set a goal and found it extremely difficult to stay focused on it?
When most people set a goal they say something like, “I want to lose 20 pounds.”
That’s not very inspiring! It’s no wonder that just a few days later that same person is pressing the snooze button at 6 o’clock in the morning and skipping their workout while they grab some fast food for breakfast.
I’m talking about setting a goal that is MOTIVATING, INSPIRING, and EMOTIONALLY CHARGED. A motivating goal inspires you and drives you forward with or without the force of willpower. Those people who have a lot of willpower can say “I want to lose 20 pounds” and that will be enough to push them through. However, the majority of people are going to need a bit more inspiration.
THE SECRET TO STAYING MOTIVATED ALL THE TIME IS TO SET EMOTIONALLY CHARGED GOALS.
To key to setting a super-motivating goal lies in your emotions. Most goals have no emotion tied to them. And even if they do, those emotions are usually negative. For example, let’s examine the goal “I want to lose 20 pounds.”
How does this goal REALLY make you feel?
- not good enough
Not very motivating is it?
It reminds me of the quote, “The more you dwell on what you don’t want, the more of it you create.” These types of traditional goals often lead to negative statements and self-defeating questions. Things like:
I can’t lose weight no matter what I do.
Why can’t I lose these last 10 pounds?
Why is it so hard for me to lose weight?
I have a slow metabolism.
I don’t want to be fat anymore.
It’ll never work because I like food too much.
I don’t have the willpower to get lean and ripped.
I would workout but I don’t have time.
I hate being fat.
I’ll never see my abs.
Why can everyone else lose weight except me? It’s not fair.
It’s not my fault because I don’t have good genetics.
I wish I could get rid of this gut.
I hate cardio.
So don’t let the weeds take over your garden! Focusing on a goal is much easier and has a higher success rate when the goal is inspiring! When setting your goals, focus on what positive emotion you want to achieve. Then write a specific goal about what it is you want to GAIN as a result of achieving your goal, not what you want to lose.
For example, instead of saying, “I want to lose 20 pounds” you might say, “I want to be in a size 8 dress at my class reunion this fall where I will see friends and former boyfriends I haven’t seen in 20 years.”
That’s a bit more motivating isn’t it?
As you think about your goals, visualize them as alredy achieved. Your brain thinks in pictures, not words. So create an image of your body the way you want it to look when you reach your ultimate goal.
When you focus on an inspiring goal you’ll find that your mind switches its “polarity” and the negative thoughts pop up less. Motivating goals often lead to positive statements and empowering questions. Things like:
How can I lose fat and enjoy the process?
What can I do today that will help me get closer to my weight loss goal?
What can I eat right now at this meal that will help me lose body fat?
How great am I going to feel after I finish my workout today?
My metabolism is getting faster every day.
I like the way I look.
I am 100% responsible for my results.
Whatever it takes, I’ll do it.
I like eating healthy foods.
I love working out.
Training early in the morning is exhilarating.
I have time for anything I am committed to.
I like myself.
I can do it.
I will do it.
Practice writing your goals in the traditional way and then in this new way and compare how different each goal “feels.” At first it will take some practice but eventually it will become an automatic process for you.
I recommend setting long-term and short-term goals. So don’t just write down one goal, make an entire list. There are several goals you can include:
1. Your ultimate long-term goal
2. 12 month goal
3. Three month goals
4. Weekly goals (weekly body composition test and weigh-in)
5. Daily goals (habits to develop, things to do everyday repeatedly)
6. The goal of beating your personal best.
Remember, you develop good habits by setting daily action goals and working on them repeatedly until they become as routine as brushing your teeth or taking a shower. 99% of the actions you take everyday are habits.
Step One: Create a Traditional Goal
Here are some additional things to consider as you write down your goals:
- Most people can completely transform their bodies in 90 days. A sensible and realistic 90-day goal would be to lose up to 6% body fat and 12-24 pounds.
- If your primary objective is to lose 100 pounds, that’s at least a 12 month project. Don’t expect or even attempt to do it any faster if you want long-term results.
- For safe, effective, and long-term weight loss aim for 1-2 pounds/week.
Step Two: Make the Traditional Goal More Emotional and Inspiring
After you’ve set your goals in terms of a specific weight, body fat, etc. then re-write your goals to have as much emotional impact as possible. What are your reasons for reaching that goal? Maybe you have something to prove, need to get in shape for a wedding/special event/vacation, attract the opposite sex, feel better about yourself, or simply want to improve your health.
Here are some additional questions you might ask yourself to add emotional impact to your goals:
- Who is your physique role model? Why? What is it about them that inspires you?
- Do you want to impress anyone?
- Do you want to prove something? Or finish some type of event or race?
- Do you want more energy so you can enjoy certain sports or activities more?
- Do you want to win a contest or an award?
- Do you want to improve your health so you can spend more quality time with loved ones?
- Do you want to get off certain types of medications?
- Do you want more self-confidence?
- Do you want to look great in certain type of clothing?
- Do you want to look good for a certain event?
- Do you want to attract someone of the opposite sex?
If you answer these questions you will uncover the ultimate driving force behind your goals.
Additional Goal Setting Tips
1. Choose the most important goal from your list (usually the 90-day goal) and write it down on a handful of small index cards. Place the cards in strategic locations…by your bathroom mirror, on the fridge, in your purse, in your wallet, on the dashboard of your car, etc. If you read your goal often enough, you’ll reach a point where even if you simply glance at it or put your hands in your pocket and touch the card, it will make you think about your goal. It may sound kooky, but it’s a GREAT way to stay focused.
2. You can create a “vision board” which is a collage of photos and other motivational images pasted together on a bulletin or poster board. Flip through some fitness magazines and cut pictures out. You can even go so far as to put a picture of your head on top of a photo of your ideal body! Talk about visualization! 🙂
So, I want you to walk away from the computer RIGHT NOW and start working on your goal list. When you’re done, I would LOVE to hear about some of your goals. Please post them in the comments section below or on my Facebook page. Sometimes if you share your goals with someone else it makes them more “real”.
Don’t worry if it’s not PERFECT, just start writing. You can always go back and edit them later. Do it now!
And remember, the most important part of getting in great shape is simply making up your mind to do so!