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Goal Setting Golden Rules – 7 steps to set yourself up for success

Goal Setting Golden Rules – 7 steps to set yourself up for success

Ever found yourself mindlessly scrolling insta, feet up on the leg press when someone taps you on the shoulder asking “How many sets do you have left?” Quickly making you realise you just went to change a song but then spent at least the next 10 minutes lost down a reel rabbit hole AND you’ve still got two sets left. If the answer is yes, it’s ok, we’ve got you… but it might be time to look into some goal setting.

Goal setting is more than just a wish or a daydream, it helps trigger new behaviours, helps guide your focus and keeps you progressing in life. It’s the conscious effort to pursue what you really want in life rather than the easy option that may be standing in front of you. So, let's walk through some of the ways you can set meaningful goals and how to achieve them.


1 – Make goals that motivate you

As the saying goes, “if your goals don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough”. Now that might be a bit cliché, but what it's really talking about is choosing goals that motivate you. Choosing a goal that’s big enough that it excites you to invest in it. Many people end up abandoning their goals purely as they are not motivated enough to achieve them. However, if you can set a goal that’s important to you, and you can see the value in accomplishing it. You will already be well on your way to making it your reality.

Set goals that relate closely to priorities in your life. For example, it may be important to you that you want to lead a healthy lifestyle and you want your goals to help fulfil this. So, you set several goals that align with this, meaning you are more willing to give them the commitment and time they require to maximise your likelihood of success. Picture yourself achieving your goals, how does that make you feel? Proud? Satisfied? Driven? If the feeling is just one that makes you go ‘meh’ maybe, it’s time to up the ante and choose something that is truly compelling for you to achieve.

Hot Tip: Choose your WHY!

All great goals start with a why. Why is this important to me? Why will this goal add value to my life? Imagine explaining your goal to a good friend, what would you say to convince them of how important this goal was to you? This then becomes your value statement. The piece of the puzzle you come back to when obstacles stand in your way and keep you pushing forward.


2 – Set SMART goals

Now you may have heard of SMART goals before, and there’s a reason for this. This is a clinically proven framework to create meaningful goals that are actually attainable. The acronym was first coined by George Doran, Arthur Miller and James Cunningham in a 1981 article which has since become the worldwide gold standard framework for goal setting.

Working through the 5 core stages of SMART goals will help you figure out how to define, track and measure your health and fitness goals!

SMART goals are:


Be specific

Effective goal setting is more than just having a rough idea of what you want to achieve, it needs to be specific. Doing this determines a clear line in the sand of exactly what you want to achieve and when you accomplish it.

For example, the goal “I want to get fit” really isn’t that specific. What do you define fit as? How do you know when you get fit? This really doesn’t pave the way for you to succeed. Whereas striving for the goal “I want to improve my fitness level so that I can do 20 x push-ups on my toes, 5 x strict pull-ups and run 5km in under 30 minutes” is very clearly defined and highly specific to exactly what you want to achieve.

Make your goals measurable

To keep yourself motivated, it’s important your goals have a clear benchmark. By making your goal measurable, not only will you know exactly when you achieve it, but you will be able to track your progress towards it. Being able to clearly see your progress can keep you motivated to keep going or re-evaluate if you need to change up or game plan.

Some examples of measurable fitness goals are:

➣ Complete a specific number of repetitions, for example, 10 barbell squats at 70kgs
➣ Complete a race like a 10km fun run under 60min
➣ Hit a new 1 repetition maximum for a deadlift to double your body weight.

The saying “you can’t track change without data” is one to get comfortable with and really let that sink in. Otherwise, how do you know what you’re doing is actually working and if you’re heading in the right direction?


Your goal needs to be achievable

Now it's one thing to dream big, but it’s another to set wildly ambitious goals that really are out of reach. This isn’t to say you should dial back your ambitions, but if your goal is to represent Australia at the Olympics in gymnastics and you’re 55 and you can’t touch your toes; you might need to rethink your goal, so you aren’t setting yourself up for failure.

However, when you go big and set big life goals that’s awesome too! These are generally longer-term goals. To help you achieve them it’s a good idea to break them down into smaller more practicable pieces that grow into your larger goals. Say you’ve decided you really want to run a marathon within 2 years, but you’re new to running so a smaller goal might be to run you’re first 10kms or run a certain number of kilometres each week with a local run club.

By doing this you are ensuring you are working on achievable goals with the time, energy, resources and support you have available to you at this point in your life.

It needs to be relevant to you

This all comes down to your why! Can you fully own your goal? It’s so easy to be influenced by other people’s goals, whether that’s friends, family, or through social media. Make sure your goal is relevant to you. You should be able to quickly and passionately explain why this goal means something to you, how it will impact your life, and how you expect to feel when you’ve achieved it. If it doesn’t resonate with you, maybe it’s not the goal for you.

Give it a timeline

Every great goal is bound by a time period. This might be a 12-week training block, a 4-week mini cut, or a year-long focus on switching to a high-protein diet. This isn’t to say you won’t carry on your new healthy habits after you’ve reached your original goal, but it’s important to have a deadline. Track backwards from your final goal to see the big picture. How long will you need to reach this goal? What are the daily and weekly habits you need to do to achieve this?

When you set yourself a realistic time frame, it’s easier to plan and schedule the time you’ll need to dedicate to achieving your goal. You’re also far more likely to be motivated when working towards a specific deadline.


3 – Write them down

So now you have your SMART goals, it’s time to write them down. When you put pen to paper, they are no longer floating in your mind they become very real and tangible things. Once written down you begin to emotionally engage and really connect with the outcome you want to achieve, in turn keeping you more motivated as you’re more invested in the outcome.

People who write their goals down are between 20-40% more likely to accomplish them compared to people who don’t. That’s pretty huge just for taking the time to write them down on a piece of paper! Having this clarity allows you to filter out things, activities and people that do not support you and what you want to achieve in life.


4 – Make a plan

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Now the fun begins: how to turn your goal into reality. What is required for you to hit that goal? What skills do you need to learn? How much time will you need to dedicate to it per week? Do you need to enlist the skills of a professional or a mentor?

This is where you get to break down what can seem like a monumental task into smaller and smaller pieces until it is manageable daily or weekly tasks and habits. Makes these habits visible too, write them down, stick them on your fridge, and journal them. These constant little reminders will help keep you focused on what you really want rather than the easy temptations that arise. Before you know it, ticking off the daily habits will build momentum and you’ll be running towards the finish line… Your progress will quickly become addictive.


5 – Stick with it

Remember good things take time! A plan can only go so far without follow-up actions. If you don’t put in the time, effort, and energy in reaching your goals, you can’t expect to achieve them. While we live in a world of instant gratification, slow down, and remember your why. If it was important enough to start, then it's probably still just as important now, but you’re in the midst of the work and it’s hard but keep going, you’ve got this.

While it may be tempting to change your mind or draw new plans when things don’t go your way, remember to always trust in your capabilities and instincts. Remember, results are more important than just living in your comfort zone.


6 – Review your goals

Think back to the previous goals you set in your life, which one did you smash out of the ballpark and which ones got pushed to the wayside? Mostly likely the successful ones you reviewed and kept coming back to. Sometimes life happens and you might need to alter the timeline if a higher priority comes up. Or conversely, the timing might be just perfect, and you’ve reached your goal much sooner than you had planned.

Regularly reviewing your targets will help you to keep track of your progress, including what worked and what hasn’t. This allows you to easily identify and work around possible challenges in the future. A great tip to help keep track is to set reminders in your phone or journals to prompt you to check in and see where you’re at. This may be weekly, monthly or quarterly depending on the goal.


7 – Celebrate your wins!

You did it! Congratulations!

Though it is commonly overlooked it is time to pat yourself on the back. Hitting your goals is no small feat and they deserve to be celebrated. Taking the time to mark your accomplishments is just as important as hitting the goal itself. So, whether that’s some self-care and booking a relaxing massage, a purchase you’ve been dying for or an amazing lunch with friends. Remember positive reinforcement isn’t just for man’s best friend! Use your success to fuel your drive for your future goals and keep the momentum rolling.

Good luck!


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