Three Keys to Goal-Setting Success

January 12, 2018

Happy New Year! It’s 2018 and we’re ready to tackle a new year of fitness goals!

You’re in luck, because our theme at Myzone for January is Goal-Setting. This blog post will take you through three key steps to goal-setting success. 

Step 1_ Answer the Why_

Step 1: Answer the Why?

Sometimes when we set goals, we slip into autopilot and set goals that we think we should set rather than goals that are truly meaningful to us. We know from research that people put more time and energy into the pursuit of goals if the goals are meaningful to them.

So ask yourself the why questions of, “Why am I setting this goal? Why do I want to achieve this goal?”

If you have a hard time answering those questions, try reworking your goal. For example, perhaps your original goal was, “I want to lose 15 pounds before my friend’s wedding in March.” When you ask yourself why you’re setting that goal, you might discover that you felt pressured to lose weight because your other friends involved in the wedding wanted to lose weight. Ask yourself if losing weight is really important to you.

Maybe you’ll discover that your true goal is to look as good as possible in your wedding attire. In order to do so, you may still need to lose some weight, but the specific amount is debatable. Rather than setting a specific weight loss goal, why not set specific exercise and nutrition goals like, “I will exercise for 30 minutes 3 days per week over the next 3 months,” and “I will cut out all soda and candy for the next 3 months.” 

The exercise and nutrition goals will be more actionable because they’re process goals (shorter-term behavioral goals), and they’ll map the road to your outcome goal – losing weight and looking good at the wedding.

The “why” is important because it’s our motivational driving force. Motivation is a finite resource, so shape your goals in a way that offers consistent motivation.

Step 2_ Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Step 2: Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals

You have most likely heard about S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting by now. 

S = Specific

M = Measureable

A = Action-Oriented (most likely a process/behavioral goal)

R = Realistic

T = Time-Bound

Shaping your goals using this acronym is a great way to make sure that you set both process and outcome goals. Process goals support the day-to-day work it takes to achieve your longer-term outcome goals.

Let’s take a goal through the S.M.A.R.T. process. Our goal is, “I will run a 5k in 30 minutes or less.”

Specific:  We have a specific distance and time, but we do not yet have a specific event or date. We can also get more specific by offering ourselves an average pace per mile. If we want to run 3.1 miles in less than 30 minutes, we should aim to average about 9 minutes and 30 seconds per mile.

Measurable:  The goal checks out as measurable because there’s a specific event date, distance, and pace you’re committed to.

Action-Oriented:  How can you take action on your goal? What behaviors can you engage in? You can commit to running 3 days per week for the next 4 months. Further, you can commit to working your way to the 5k distance from your starting point of 1 mile by adding .25 miles each week.

Realistic:  You can already run a 9 minute and 15 second mile for 1 mile. The longest you’ve run at this point is 2 miles, and it took you a total of 21 minutes. You’re confident that if you gradually build up your distance, you can maintain the 9 minute and 30 second pace required to meet your goal.

Time-Bound:  You’ve made your goal time-bound by committing to a specific race date (April 8th) and defining your training period (4 months).

S.M.A.R.T. Goal: “I will run the Seal Beach 5k in under 30 minutes on April 8th by maintaining a pace of 9 minutes and 30 seconds per mile. I will run 3 days per week for the next 4 months. I will add .25 miles of distance each week until I reach the 5k distance.”

Now go achieve your goal!

Step 3_ Check in Regularly

Step 3: Check in Regularly

This third step is critical to goal-setting success. We’ve all been guilty of setting a goal, even taking the time to write it down, only to forget about it until we find it in our journal months later. On the contrary, we’ve also all experienced that time where we’ve become goal obsessed only to find that it’s taking over our life and taking away from our quality of life.

So what’s the best frequency to check in with our goals? Weekly is a good place to start. Once you’ve set your longer-term outcome goals, and several process goals to map the route, you can check your progress weekly and re-organize as needed.

We recommend establishing a specific day (and even specific time) to check in with your goals. Routine is a powerful motivator.

Speaking of powerful motivators, checking in can also happen with the support of a friend. A friend who will hold you accountable to your goals is like gold!

Keep moving forward!

We wish you all the best with your health and fitness goals for this year!

Remember to use the hashtags #effortrewarded and #myzonemoves when you post your workout pics. Also, don’t forget to add your workout pics with your moves in your Activity Calendar!

For more tips on how to use the Myzone® heart rate monitor and App, follow us during Fitness Fridays on Facebook Live (subscribe on Myzone’s Facebook Page) – 8 am PT, 11 am ET, and check out our Myzone® Moves Podcast on iTunes or Google Play.

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