It’s a new year and the perfect time for new beginnings, but it’s probably not your first time setting goals. These tools might seem a little ‘cliche’, but they actually do work. (Yes! Trust the process)
To be successful at anything you first need to enjoy what you’re doing. You need to have a passion for it and a desire to improve in that regard.
First – Have the right goal
While setting goals certainly gives us purpose and direction, it’s working towards achieving those goals where the challenge really lies. But before you dive into the fray, chasing your ambitions for 2019, stop for a minute and consider whether you’ve actually set the right goal…
All too often when we fail, we tend to write it off to a lack of motivation or willpower. But what if we were doomed to fail from the start, because we had the wrong goal to begin with?
There are a number of reasons why a specific goal may not be right. You therefore need to take time out, having established your goals for the year, and interrogate them.
Through this process, ask yourself the following questions (and write down your answers):
Why did you choose that goal?
Why do you want to achieve this goal?
How much do you really want or need to achieve this goal?
What will happen if you don’t achieve your goal?
Am I making this harder than it needs to be?
How will your efforts to attain this goal fit into your current lifestyle and situation?
Do you have sufficient time to dedicate to achieving the goal in the timeframe you’ve set out?
This process aims to establish whether your motivators are extrinsic or intrinsic in nature, which can have a significant impact on your willingness and ability to see them through.
That’s because the reason you want to achieve a goal must hold substance to be effective. Many of us fail to achieve success because we choose to do things that we don’t like doing to achieve an outcome. Obviously, achieving goals you actually want to accomplish in the first place will set you up for success, rather than abject failure at the first stumbling block.
Once you know your goal if YOURS – then use these tools
1. Write it down
Whatever your reasons are for working out or eating right, write them down and keep a record of your progress. Journaling helps you process a lot of your emotions, and reaffirms the priority you’re making your commitment to be. Also seeing how far you have come and what you have accomplished will also motivate you to keep pushing when things get tough.
Even more powerful are photos, a visual reminder. They don’t need to be a ‘before’ photo – they can be part of a motivation board, or even just a collection of pins (Pinterest) or photos saved to your camera roll.
2. Don’t keep your goals a secret
Share your goals with everyone who cares enough to listen, even it’s it’s Instagram! These people may be able to assist you with advice or suggestions that could help you achieve your goal, and – it’s an added commitment device that keeps you accountable.
3. Partner up
Find a gym partner who has similar goals and is at a similar level to you in terms of strength and fitness. (Okay, that’s the ideal, but not often possible) Pairing up with someone is another accountability tool, but also delivers a healthy dose of competition. Partnering up also doesn’t even have to be in the same gym space. If your friend is located elsewhere, agree on a workout schedule and workout plan, and perform them on the same days and compare progress and your experiences. If you can’t find anyone to share your journey with – then it’s time to meet some new people, see next!
4. Add variety
A stale programme that offers little variety and no longer challenges you is a sure-fire way to kill your motivation – a girl can only ensure so many burpees. Time to keep it fresh and interesting. Join some group training classes or totally switch up what you’ve been doing. Maybe it’s time to trade the gym for something more outdoor, or finally experiencing why everyone on a bike is simply raving about riding…
5. Reaffirm your reasons
Revisit and review the reasons as a constant reminder of why you are doing this. (Head back to point nr 1)
6. Reward yourself
You need to kick the habit of rewarding yourself with food, that boat sailed a decade ago! Buy new training gear (Always a YAY) or spoil yourself with a day at the spa, instead of relying on food-based rewards. Then keep stretching the targets you need to achieve to earn these rewards. This can be a tricky one as we normally associate ‘rewards’ by indulging ourselves in naughty treats, because it’s a more affordable and easily actioned reward system. We therefore need to change the way we view rewards entirely.
Step 1 – Plan your ‘clean cheat’. Yes, the food part. Plan ahead for one meal per week that’s driving you insane, but try put a healthy spin on it.
Step 2 – Make a list of all the other things you love doing, but never feel you get around to it. Maybe movie night with the BBF, hitting up a new fitness class, attending a crafting class… Or sleeping in late! Whatever it may be, note it down and plan around them.
These really are powerful tools to help you stick with it, but they only work if you work it! Leave us a comment if you have a system that works for you.
Author: Tanja Schmitz
Founder and Editor of Fitness Magazine. You’ll find her behind her computer or on her bike, dreaming up new ways to improve or create content for you.