We’ve all had that year or two that is not worth remembering. You know, the year that you lost your job and your whole world suddenly collapse. Or the year that you gained so much weight eating way too much popcorn every single night. Perhaps you got dumped early last year too and you can’t get over it till very recently.
Or wait. Perhaps you’ve set goals, or resolutions, early last year only to remember you even had them in the first place two nights ago.
Whatever it is, 2014 is here and we are going to make it epic.
Walk with me as I teach you how to make goals that does not suck. And perhaps this will be the year where you’re going to finally lose that last 10 kilos.
Let’s take it back to one year ago.
You wake up on New Years Day, slightly (or very) hungover from all the chaos the night before and yell out to all your mates – “I’m going to lose weight this year!”. Or (while pointing confidently at your belly…) – “See this?! I’m going to have abs this year!”.
Maybe you’re one of those people who did it differently. You had some nights alone before the 31st of Dec and sat in your little corner with your notebook thinking about what you want to make out of 2013. It doesn’t matter what your goals are. It doesn’t even need to be fitness related. Maybe you’ve always wanted to start a business, save a little bit more money or read at least one fiction a month.
Things go well for two weeks. Success!
And then suddenly, something happened late January. You woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Work starts to pile up. You decide to “take a break” from your goals. A week break turned to a month and then 6 months and suddenly you woke up and it’s the 1st of January 2014. And you don’t remember what was your goals from last year.
Do you want to repeat that? Let’s not. Like I previously said, we’re going to make 2014 epic. Let’s seriously not suck in making goals, guys. We’ve got this.
Be specific man
You’ve probably heard this before but how many times have you made your goals specific? Probably not as often if you’re that guy screaming pointing at your belly.
Your goal sucks if you say you want to lose weight. It still sucks if you say you want to lose 10lbs. Oh and it still sucks if you say you want to lose 10lbs by 30th June.
Let’s pretend you’re going on a huge Asia trip. Even if it’s an impromptu, pack your bags and leave kind of trip, you must have written down the all places you want to visit. You must have worked out when you’re going to return. You probably know you want to visit Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, and probably skip Halong Bay because you don’t want a beachy type of thing.
It’s the same in fitness.
A specific goal needs to be measurable. It needs to be achievable. It needs to have a timeline. And it needs to be realistic.
– If you want to lose weight, how are you going to measure it? By the scales? Are you going to measure yourself with a tape? What about taking a picture of yourself? How about doing some blood work and maybe investing in getting your body fat percentage properly measured?
If you have a weight loss goal, I advice you to get on the scales, measure yourself with a tape (at least your chest, waist and hips at the bare minimum) and take a picture of yourself. Take note the exact time and date you did this and make sure you do it at the same time when it’s time for a remeasure.
– Your goals needs to be achievable. So you want to lose 10 kilos. Think about your environment. How does work look like throughout the year? Think about how often you can train. Take into consideration these things because we live a life. We don’t live just to lose weight unless you happen to be on The Biggest Loser.
If you know you can only work out 3 times a week for 30 minutes, there is no way you can start on P90x even if it looks great.
– Your goals needs to have a timeline. Now this is ultra important my friend. When I work on my own fitness goals, I plan for a whole year, and divide that whole year into parts of six weeks. What this means is that I have a huge goal of what I want to achieve at the end of this year, and plan out a six-weekly timetable on what I want to achieve. That way I spread my big goals into pieces, making it more achievable allowing me to celebrate small successes.
Use a huge butcher’s paper and draw out your year. Fill it in with big family events, you know those that requires you to commit a lot of time in, like your sister’s wedding. And finally and most importantly, have an end date.
– Talking about end dates, make it realistic. If you want to lose 45lbs, 3 weeks is not realistic. For some people, even 12 weeks is not. Don’t be too overambitious. I know you have all the grit to make it happen but it’s better to over-deliver than over-promise.
Phew. That’s a bit of work isn’t it? Now you know why goals declared after a big night sucks.
After all that, here’s what a super awesome goal looks like: I am going to lose 20lbs kilos by 30th of June by working out 3 days a week and eating less processed foods.
If your goal looks like that, you’re on the right path. Put that up on your wall, fridge, work desk. A place where you can see every single day so you get reminded.
What’s the significance?
Now that you’ve got a seriously great goal in mind, ask yourself – “What is the significance of this goal?”
In other words, think and decide WHY you want it.
There’s so many times I get clients that say things like:
“I want to lose weight but I can’t __________.”
“I want to start personal training with you but __________.”
“I want to sleep better but ___________.”
If you want them but you’ve got things in your mind that you think might stop you from getting it, then don’t do it. Too easy.
Here’s some tough love. If you come up to me and tell me to help you start because you don’t have any motivation, there’s really nothing I can do for you. In fact, no one can ever do that for you. The motivation has to come from you.
The good thing is, your motivation can simply come from anywhere. Perhaps your doctor had just told you to lose weight. Or you just had a baby and you decided you want to be around when your grandkids are around. Or you have a pretty ambitious goal of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro one day.
Whatever that motivation is, make it yours. And make it significant to yourself, not your doctor, not your spouse, not your family and not the society.
Ask yourself why you want to lose weight or build muscle. If the reason comes from within you then you’ve got it. Why? Because when you find that one thing you want more than anything else in this world, then there is no way you can stop yourself from getting it.
They say, “If you want it bad enough, you’ll find a way. If you don’t want it, you’ll find an excuse.” And that’s entirely true for all intents and purposes when it comes to your fitness goals.
Focus on the things that works
Got your goal, got your significance. Now let’s come up with a game plan.
Did you have a similar goal last year only to realise you didn’t meet them? Perhaps you tried on a new fitness program and you failed?
If the latter is the case, then congratulations! Now you know there is one thing that DID NOT WORK FOR YOU.
Unless you’re crazy, you can do that thing you did all of last year, again. But since you’re reading this, I’m sure you’re not THAT crazy. And I’m sure you’re smart enough to find something different because you know how much it sucks to fail.
If you tried running three times a week and still didn’t lose much weight, you can try doing some HIIT or weight lifting.
If you tried counting calories and know that it makes you feel miserable, then stop doing it.
The idea here is to learn from your previous failures and figure out what is it that made you fail. And most importantly, don’t repeat it unless you want to fail again. Learn from past mistakes, remember that yesterday is history and move on to something new. Perhaps starting weight training is that big break you need in losing the last few stubborn pounds. Just don’t live in your past.
Record your progress
Remember when I said that I break my huge fitness goal into small six-weekly pieces? How do you think I’m going to know I’m really achieving those goals? By recording every single bit of my progress. This is important my friend. You have to start tracking your progress.
Get a notebook just for your fitness goals. Or get two notebooks, one for fitness and one for nutrition. Write everything down.
So you ran 3 miles at 6 miles per hour today? Write it down.
You bench pressed a 100lbs today? Write it down.
Our brain can only store a limited amount of information and if you’re training three times a week for the next 52 weeks, there is no way you can remember what you did in week 1 at week 23. Be smart, I know you all are and start tracking your progress.
Another thing I may add is to track your measurements, you know the one you did in the beginning (which you should have!). Take pictures every week and see how you magically transform. Be consistent with your measurements too. If you measured yourself on a Wednesday at 6am, measure yourself again the same time in a month.
Guess what everyone? Life happens. You never know you might have a baby in October this year. Maybe you have done everything right and you’re in the best shape of your life and you’re happy with it even if you’re about 5lbs short of your goal.
Maybe you won a spot in the Boston Marathon too. Whatever it is, an awesome goal has room for a positive change. As long as that change brings about greatness in your life then you’re already a winner.
This is by far one of the most idiot proof way of getting to your goals because none of us likes to be called a liar. And we are not liars.
If you have followed all the steps above in making your goals super awesome and know that it’s not just another post-drink goal, make it public. Announce it to all your friends and family. Put it on your Facebook status. It may sound cliche but I personally know people who achieved some bad-ass goals by telling people about it. That way you can’t back out.
Better yet, place a bet with a group of friends with similar goals. Think about joining a community with like-minded people. This way you know it’s tough to let it go when you’re constantly surrounded by it.
Write it down
Last but not least. Write your goal down. I’m sure after reading this you’ve probably got some pretty cool ideas on what you want to make out of 2014 but let me tell you this, a goal is not a goal unless it is written down. It’s a wish. Or a dream. Although it’s nice to have good dreams like fitting in to that jeans you had from 2004, we’re here to make something happen.
Write it down with a pen and paper. You heard me. Not on your phone. Not on Evernote. Not on Notes. Pen and paper. In your notebook with all your measurements and progress. Let it flow, my dear. You have this in you.
Here’s to you…
As always, my posts are lengthy but I assure you, you will get something out of it to help you live a pretty awesome life. I’m here to help but with these types of posts, it is absolutely crucial for you to do something about it, and not just close the tab and move on.
Stop making sucky goals my friend. Here’s what you can start doing.
– Make specific goals which is measurable, achievable and have a time-line.
– Find a significant reason on WHY you want to achieve that so bad.
– Focus on things that works, leaving behind what you did before that failed.
– Get a notebook and record your progress.
– Remember that life happens so be flexible.
– Go public with your goal.
– Write it all down. On pen and paper.
Have some faith, believe in yourself and know you can make something epic out of 2014. We’re about to make a change and that change starts from you. You’ve got this. I know you do.
I want to know, what is your goal for this year? Make it public. Drop a comment below. Share it with all our readers. I want to know.
Here’s to a brilliant year.