Learning how to set health and fitness goals can honestly be the difference between reaching your goals and being the person that says they will start tomorrow.
If you are in the latter, then you know tomorrow is always pushed off and never actually comes.
Or maybe you are like me where you start, but you have a hard time sticking with it.
The great news is that doesn’t have to be you anymore!
I am so excited to share this with you because once I learned how to do this, I was able to make goals, start them, and CRUSH THEM!
AND learning how to set health and fitness goals doesn’t have to end there. You can use these techniques for any other goals you want to set as well. Career, financial, relationship, you name it you can do it.
I am going to walk you through step by step how to set goals so you can achieve them!
What Is A Goal
A goal is something you aspire to do. Think of it as a wish. Something you would really like.
For example, maybe you want to lose a few pounds or start eating healthier.
This is something you are going to put effort into and try to achieve.
What Should Your Goal Be
Many people struggle with what their goal should be or how to pick it. If this sounds like you, that’s okay.
Follow these simple guideline for creating your goal and you will be able to work it out in no time.
Something You Really Want
Put some thought into it when you set goals. Don’t just pick the first thing that comes to mind.
You can take your time hashing our what it is you want and why you want it. Think about what it is you would really like to see for yourself.
Make sure as you do this, you are only using positive talk. I have heard people say they really want to lose some weight but they have tried and they just can’t do it.
Leave out the doubts as you do this because you need to believe you can reach your goal.
Make sure when you pick a goal, it is something you are able to obtain.
And if you think your goal isn’t realistic, just take a minute to think about it. Tweak it if necessary.
Wanting to fly or read minds is awesome but those are not realistic. What is more probable is taking some lessons to learn to fly a plane or doing skydiving. Really wanted to read minds? Maybe you learn how to read body language instead.
If there is something you want but it doesn’t seem like you can reach it, try looking at it from a different angle.
Also, keep in mind timing.
If you want to reach your goal within a certain time frame, make sure you are allowing yourself the proper time.
You’re just not going to get those 6 pack abs in a week.
Something With Feeling
Be sure that there is feeling behind your goal. It gives it so much more meaning and is going to push you to keep at it!
Write it down and use positive words to make it feel real.
Look at the picture, both big and small, for your goal. This can help you add feeling to your goal.
For example, maybe you want to eat better so you stay healthy. Big picture- you could live longer. Small picture- you will be healthy enough to play with your grand kids.
When you set goals, the why is extremely important. I can’t stress this enough because knowing how it will make you feel once you reach your goal is going to be the difference in reaching it or not.
Examples Of Goals
Here is a list of a few common health and fitness goals people have. You do not have to pick from this list. It is just meant to help get you started and maybe spark the goal you want.
Wake up earlier
Workout 3 times a week
Learn to cook
Make healthier meal choices
Cut down on sugar
Lose 10 pounds
Drink more water
How To Set Goals
Now that you know what your goal should entail, let’s get into how to set a goal.
Now there are a ton of different ways you can learn how to set goals.
If you are working on setting goals, I’m sure you have come across a bunch already, such as SMART goal setting.
I learned about SMART goals years ago when it was required for me to set SMART goals at work. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.
This is great to keep in mind when you set goals, but it isn’t going to help you actually reach them.
What I want to share with you is something I have found that truly works!
I came across this technique a few months ago when I took a free course through Yale University on The Science of Well-Being.
It is taught by a great psychology professor named Laurie Santos. And I would recommend this course to everyone.
In this course, she has another psychologist, Gabriele Oettingen, talk about a goal setting strategy she developed called WOOP.
It stands for wish, outcome, obstacle, and plan.
This is actually a very simple technique. All you have to do is follow it and keep up with it. I will talk about this more as I explain each step in detail.
Your wish is going to be the goal you want to reach.
You want to identify what it is you really want. We talked about this a little bit earlier when I told you to make sure your goal is something you really want.
So you can better understand the process, I will share with you my wish that I have used this technique with.
I started this about 4 months ago and I am still going strong!
My goal was to workout at least 3 times a week, in the morning, for at least 30 minutes.
The outcome is what happens if you achieve your goal. This needs to be done after you identify your wish and before you consider the obstacles.
The end result of the goal is really important to establish, because it is what is going to give you that feeling.
Feeling is super important when it comes to your goal, which I talked about earlier. It helps keep you working towards it.
For this reason, you should always be reminding yourself of the outcome.
My outcome for my wish is that I will have more energy, be in better shape, improve my health, and decrease symptoms of depression. All of this is going to make me feel great!
The obstacle is what could potentially keep you from reaching you goal.
Think of this as something that is holding you back.
This could be anything, such as lack of confidence, motivation, or even needing something else to achieve your goal.
It is important to determine what possible obstacles you could encounter so that you can make a proper plan to overcome them.
My obstacle is that I can lack motivation to get up early. Being tired makes it hard to want to work out.
The plan is what is going to make sure you keep working towards that wish, because you will have a plan to overcome your obstacles if they come up.
A great way to make your plan is to put it into an if, then statement.
If your obstacle pops up, then you are going to implement your plan.
For your plan to be successful, you really want to be sure you know what obstacles could block you from your goal.
And if an unforeseen obstacle arises when you start your goal, simply make a new plan.
So, the plan as it relates to my goal is this: If I have trouble getting up in the morning, then I will remind myself of the outcome of reaching my goal.
I know my plan seems very simple, but my outcome is such a powerful motivator for me that it works. Keep in mind that what works for others might not work for you, so be sure to set the plan specifically for you.
Implementing WOOP Goal Setting
Now that you understand what each part of the WOOP acronym entails, I want to walk you through how to successfully use it.
To implement WOOP, you want to spend some time each day going over it.
Take the time to write out each section of the goal setting and review it at the same time every day.
- Wish: I want to workout in the morning at least 3 times a week for 30 minutes.
- Outcome: It will make me feel great because I will be improving my health, be in better shape, have more energy, and decrease symptoms of depression.
- Obstacle: It can be hard to wake up early and have the motivation to workout when I’m tired.
- Plan: If I am tired or not motivated to workout, then I will remind myself of my outcome.
I chose to go over mine each night, because I was trying to make sure I would get up in the morning to workout.
Then in the morning, if I was having a hard time getting up, my outcome would be fresh in my mind.
Make sure when you are going through WOOP, that you do it in the order it is set up. It is set up in this manner to help make sure you reach your goals.
What I am specifically talking about is do not switch around the outcome and obstacle.
Remember, feeling is super important.
You want to keep that outcome in mind but be aware of the obstacles that could come up. You don’t want to count out the outcome, so thinking about that first is going to make sure you do not dwell on the obstacles.
And I want to stress, if you want to be successful, you need to make sure you are reviewing WOOP each day.
I talked with a lot of other people that took the course and implemented WOOP. What they all had in common, if they really hashed out each part of WOOP, was that those who were successful continuously reviewed it.
Set Your Goals
To set goals in health and fitness, or any other area of your life, can take some time and thought.
And even if you put in that effort, you still might not reach those goals.
To give yourself the best possible chance to succeed, you need to ensure that you are setting goals that you really want.
They should be realistic and have meaning behind why you want to reach them.
Then use WOOP (wish, outcome, obstacle, and plan) to focus on that goal ensure you reach it!