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It's science but not rocket science

Posted Dec 28 2012 6:16pm

Effective Goals Setting


It is that time of year again where we set New Year’s Resolutions…maybe to quit smoking, eat more fiber or lose 20 pounds.  How many of us really make an effective plan to achieve our goals?  Go beyond the typical “I want to lose weight” and make an effective game plan for how you are going to reach your goal. Here is a 5 step process to help you get started!

Step 1: VISION

Here we want to discover one thing…the real motivation for your goal.  Just keep asking yourself one simple word…why?  I want to lose weight.  Why?  So I feel better.  Why do you want to feel better?  You may respond, so I can play soccer with my children.  In a few short seconds we have discovered your motivation!  You no longer have a vague goal of weight loss but a vision of playing soccer with your children.   



Here we are going to use 6 principles known as SCAMPI to set effective goals.

1.        Specific- set specific goals versus simply trying to “do your best”

2.       Challenging- set goals that challenge your abilities versus ones that are easy to achieve

3.       Approach-always think about moving toward your goal rather than a negative state.  Change does not happen overnight.  Think about the progress you are making towards being able to play soccer (maybe now you can jog for 10 minutes)  

4.       Measurable-be able to measure your progress so you know if your strategy is working

5.       Proximal-have weekly goals as well as your long term goal.  This will keep you motivated as each week you accomplish a goal that will help you reach your long term goal

6.       Inspirational-your goal should be inspirational to you and consistent with your own ambitions. 

Step 3: BELIEF

Belief is one of the most powerful predictors of change!  You must believe that you can implement the strategies you just set!  People who believe they will be successful work harder and are better able to overcome setbacks!  To help boost belief in yourself try using visualization. Just remember it is needs to be very detailed. 


Successful people succeed by working hard and rebounding from setbacks…they persist!  They also use the setbacks as tools to strengthen their commitment.  Use these strategies to increase persistence.  1. Reward your successes…start small and increase your rewards as you progress.  2. Ask for support or help from close friends and family to encourage your progress but also to recover from setbacks.  3. Prepare for setbacks!  Carry a reminder card that you can read with a message or have a friend to call when a setback does occur. 


Is your persistence paying off?  Make sure you measure your progress and review past data so you can make adjustments if necessary.  You can monitor yourself daily using a scale of 0-10.  0 means no progress was made and 10 means outstanding progress.  Remember that physiological changes (weight, body fat, blood pressure etc) take time to change.  Try to initially measure behaviors instead of physiological changes! 

“The future belongs to those who prepare for it today” Malcolm X

 Good luck with your New You Resolution!  Here to a Fit, happy and healthy 2013! 

Crystal Reeves

B.A Exercise Science and Health

NASM CPT, CES, Weight Management Specialist

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