When it comes to setting goals of any kind, whether health/fitness related or not, the process is generally the same! The goal of goal setting (wait, what?) should be to create clear action steps and a timeline to create clarity, INSTEAD OF aiming for an arbitrary target and just HOPING to end up at the destination. Having all the motivation in the world is not enough unless there is a plan to execute on. At the very least, you will arrive there faster and more efficiently with just a little bit of intention and planning.
Whether it be hitting a new PR at the gym, losing a certain amount of body fat, or maybe even something outside of the gym like a financial target – we can use the same process of goal setting. At EFC, we like to use define S.M.A.R.T. goals. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound. If you can define your goal according to each of those pieces, it will paint a clear picture on what it will take to reach your goal, and in what time.
Here is an example of working through a S.M.A.R.T. goal exercise in regards to gym performance. We’re going to start with the general goal of “I want to get stronger” and run it through the S.M.A.R.T. goal process.
Specific – Clear and easy to understand.
Right now, “Get stronger,” is too vague. Do you want to build muscle mass? Do you want to lift more weight? Maybe both. But let’s go with a performance based goal in this example to make our goal more Specific.
“I want to increase my 1 Rep Back Squat.”
Measurable – Something you can track.
You need to be able to quantify, so you know that you have hit your goal. In this case you need a baseline FIRST to know what your Back Squat max currently is, so that you will be able to Measure an increase in the future. Let’s say it is currently 200#.
“I want to increase my 1 Rep Back Squat from 200#”
Attainable – Is this goal realistic?
You need to know the numbers, which we now do. So what is a reasonable goal to shoot for? You want to make is something that is not TOO easy, but also not TOO far away. Pick something that challenges you, but is still attainable and within reach. This is where your coaches can help you the most. Let’s pick a challenging but realistic goal of …
“I want to increase my 1 Rep Back Squat from 200# to 225#”
Relevant – is this goal important to you in your life right now?
At this point, you want to examine your goal and decide just that. Don’t set a goal unless it is Relevant and important to you. Don’t set a goal if you are being pressured into it. Maybe you just want to work out, have fun, and continue to lose weight and get shredded AF. That’s FINE! However for the sake of this example, let’s pretend you really want that 25# squat PR.
Time- Bound – Define an end point.
This deadline will do two things. First, it will create a (hopefully) healthy sense of urgency, and motivate you to stay working towards achieving your goal before the end date. Second, by knowing when you want to reach your goal, you can now work backwards to create a plan leading up to that point. What you decide to make your deadline, also affects the Attainability of your goal. If you decide you want to try to hit your goal in one month, when realistically it will take more like 3-5, then you are setting yourself up for failure. If you are unsure how long it will take to reach your goal, once again this is where your coaches can be of great benefit. In this case, let’s say that you have been strength training for 5 years, and in turn the PRs don’t come as fast as they used to. A more realistic time frame would be around 3-4 months to achieve this goal. Let’s challenge ourselves and go for three.
“I want to increase my 1 Rep Back Squat from 200# to 225# in three months (by 5/1/19)
BOOM. That’s S.M.A.R.T.
Do you see the difference between where the goal started, to what it became, and how much more clarity there is? Our new goal is precise, and now we can formulate a plan to reach our goal. That is about 10# per month. So now we can set additional SHORT TERM goals as action steps towards reaching this goal. Guess what kind of goals we can use here? Yep, you guessed it. You are so S.M.A.R.T.
“I will back squat once a week at a 32X1 tempo @ 5×5 every week for the next 4 weeks”
“I will measure my food and consume 2400 calories (150p, 225c, 100f) every day for the next 4 weeks”
“I will sleep for 7+ hours every night for the next 4 weeks”
Can you feel the #GAINZ?!
Now a plan becomes clear. There is no second guessing, and you are efficiently working towards achieving your goal!
Depending on your goal, and how much work will be required to pursue it, dictates how many goals you can realistically work towards at once. If you spread yourself too thin trying to work on everything simultaneously, you may spin your wheels and avoid substantial progress towards any single goal. Start with your biggest goal, and if time and attention allow, try adding any additional later.
So, let’s get after it! List some of your goals and run through the S.M.A.R.T. process to make them more Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. After you do that, let us know what you come up with! If you need any help creating goals, or formulating your plan to reach them, don’t be shy.
As your coaches, there is nothing more rewarding than offering our expertise to see you succeed!