Someone asked me shortly after Christmas if I had any advice on setting goals, because even though they were working out consistently, they weren’t seeing many changes and didn’t know what to do. Several Snapchat messages later, I realized I should probably write a blog on this, since there are multiple approaches for goal setting, and this is likely something many of you struggle with. Here are some of the strategies I recommended to my friend, and a bonus piece of advice for you at the end!
(If you’ve got a great strategy for setting and crushing a goal, please leave it in the comments — I would love to hear it!)
Go Small to Go Big
Generally people recommend you set smaller goals so they don’t seem daunting and so you are more likely to accomplish them. BUT, that doesn’t mean you can’t work toward a really big goal, it just means you should break up your big, scary goal into smaller, more manageable ones.
For instance, if you want six-pack abs, think about all the things you can do to help you get there. For starters, you’ll need to eat right, so set a nutrition goal — like following a 90/10 rule or vowing to only have 1 cheat day a month. You’ll also need to strengthen your core muscles, so set a planking goal — try holding a 1 minute plank every day, then move on to 2 minutes and so on as you keep getting better. Think of all the ways you can help yourself get to a six pack and then focus on those smaller, not-so-scary goals. When you’ve accomplished them, you’ll realize you’ve ALSO accomplished the seemingly impossible task of rocking killer abs.
Maybe you want to transform your entire body, and that’s totally doable! But, if you don’t mind taking the transformation more slowly, you can focus your efforts into the areas that matter most. In 2018, I personally vowed to focus on my booty and my triceps, meaning I’ll be doing extra work on top of my current workouts to improve those two “problem” areas for me.
If you do want to transform your whole body, try focusing on a different area every month for the whole year, and don’t STOP focusing on your past areas when you reach a new month … STACK your goals! Like this:
February: Biceps and triceps
March: Biceps, triceps & core
Get it?! You’ll be totally transformed by December. You can also do this for any bad habits you have: the first 3 months of the year focus on … procrastinating less? Then once you’ve gotten better at that, start focusing on another bad habit … get more sleep? If you dedicate 3 months to each goal, you can crush 4 bad habits!
Personally I always have about 7 new goals/resolutions for the new year, but if just setting a goal intimidates you, you’ll probably want to go with the less is more approach. If you strategize here, you can still accomplish a bunch of awesome shit before year’s end. Be efficient by setting a goal that addressed multiple areas of your life. Say you want to be healthier, spend more time with your friend Jane, learn a new skill and lose weight, you can accomplish ALL of these things by doing one task: Taking tennis lessons with your friend Jane! You’ll be moving more (Healthier! Weight loss!), learning something new (Tennis! Backhands! Yay!), and getting to see a lot more of Jane (lessons 3 times a week for a few months? So much Jane time!), and all you had to do was sign up for ONE thing and commit to it. Not so scary, right?
After brainstorming with my friend for a bit about goals, I ended with this nugget of wisdom: Usually if you’re working out consistently and not seeing results, it’s because of two reasons — either your nutrition isn’t on point, you aren’t pushing yourself hard enough in your workouts, or both. SO, if no matter what goals you set for yourself you still aren’t getting anywhere, take an honest look at your diet and effort level. You probably just need to eat better/the correct amount, increase the intensity of your workouts, or both!