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Dream with the Facts

Posted Jun 25 2012 6:51pm

Sure. Everyone has goals. Big ones, little ones, skinny ones, tall ones. I think we can all agree that goals are important. Goals help keep us focused, motivated and inspired. But I am going to be so bold as to say that HOW you set goals is more important than the actual goals. The company I work for is extremely goal oriented. I have the pleasure of being able to set goals with my team each month. I love doing this for many reasons:

1.       To ensure they are constantly developing, growing and using their strengths

2.       To find out how I can help them achieve their goals

3.       What they are working towards OUTSIDE of their career (because goal setting at work is more than just goal setting about work) and what excites them

The beauty of knowing what someone’s goals are, is that it makes it very easy to have really awesome conversations with them. Now this applies not only to co-workers, but to friends and family. Do you know what your friends and family members goals are? Imagine if you did? How cool would it be?  For my purposes here, I want to stick to setting fitness goals. One of the best books I ever read was Built to Last by Jim Collins. Now this book is a “business” book and the author of this book speaks about how important BHAGs are to encourage companies to define visionary goals that are more strategic and emotionally compelling, but I feel like it’s ok to talk about this with respect to fitness. 

There are lots of awesome parts to this book but I want to mention just BHAGs here. What is a BHAG? Well, it is a Big Hairy Audacious Goal. You should have a BHAG and a good one. How? It can’t be random. It needs to fit with what you are passionate about and what you can be good at and what drives you.  Before you set a BHAG you need to make sure that you have the tools, skills and resources to MAKE it happen. It’s important to dream with the facts. Use a BHAG to set your sights high and reach for that big awesome fitness goal.An example of a terrible BHAG would be:“I want to climb Mount Everest without a rope”Some elements are there. It’s a big hairy audacious goal and maybe you have a passion for mountain climbing and some experience. However, you would like die trying to achieve this goal. Also, it would be very hard to be the best at this because it is impossible to do. Also to have the skills, resources and tools would be difficult. The next part of goal setting is to make sure that you are also setting process goals. Terry Kew is the Global Sales Director at Fitness First. I had the opportunity to sit in on one of his sessions last summer at a Fitness Conference called CanFitPro in Toronto. He spoke very passionately about setting process goals as opposed to results goals. What this means with respect to fitness is that when you are setting a fitness goal, you may want to think about setting goals around the process of achieving your goal as opposed to achieving the actual goal. For example:

Lose 20 pounds.

This is a results goal. You want to lose 20 pounds. Problem. There is nothing specific or measurable about this goal. Well, except when you lose the 20 pounds.I will exercise for 45 minutes 3 times per week (to lose 20 pounds). See the difference. It will be easier to evaluate and celebrate success (or identify challenges). Think about the fitness goal you have now? Is it a weight loss goal? For many of us weight loss is the number one goal we have. Do you simply say “I want to lose 20 pounds?" If so, I invite you to think about a process goal for yourself. Here are some other examples:
“Over the next 3 months I am preparing all of my meals in advance”
“I am running outside twice per week for 30-35 minutes  this summer”
“I am 20 lbs lighter from lift weights at the gym twice per week”
Do you see what I am talking about? Goals that surround end results can seem very away at times and that can become de-motivating. If you have had the same goal for longer than 3 months and not made any progress it’s time to think about your goals in a new way. It will help you stay on track and keep you mentally happy and healthy.

The last thing I wanted to talk about is writing your goals down. Some people have vision boards or have their goals plastered on their fridge or on a bulletin board at work. The most important things to remember when writing goals down:
1.       When it’s written down it becomes real
2.       Write down short and long term goals-but don’t stop there. For each goal you have, you MUST write a few action items (or process goals) in order to help action your goals and keep you on track
3.       Write them down in the present tense. I am as opposed to I want to.
4.       Stick with the positives as opposed to the negatives. Remember you bring about what you think about.
5.       Share them! Your friends and family want to know. Maybe they can help you. Don’t be shy.
I would recommend writing goals for all areas of your life. You may find that you can set career, financial and self or professional development goals that will actually RELATE to your fitness goals. For example if you want to save money, eating at home and preparing your meals with have you hundreds of dollars each month AND help you work towards your fitness goals. Cool!

So in summary, I would recommend for successful goal setting:
1.       Think about a big, awesome goal that is based around:
-what you are passionate about and love to do
-what resources and skills you have available
-something you can actually do and be good at!
       2.  Think about process goals as opposed to results goals. Use your end result to help you set really measurable and specific process goals.
      3.  Write it down! Write both short and long term goals in the present tense. Stick with the positives and share them with your existing social circles of both friends and family.

Good luck with your fitness goal setting. I hope this article has helped you not only think about your goals in a new way but to take your fitness dreams and make them your fitness reality.



P.S. I found a really great goal setting worksheet on the lululemon website. Here is the link: Article Sources:1. Collins, J. & Porras, J. (1994, 1997, 2002) Built To Last
2. Kerry Kew, Global Sales Director Fitness First
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