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Reaching your goal: Easy to conceive, hard to achieve

You’ve set your SMART goal, you’ve written it down and stuck it on your fridge to see it daily. Now comes the hard part… making it happen!

Renowned strength coach Dan John believes “the goal is to keep the goal the goal”. This simple statement holds a lot of value and once you’ve set your goal you need to keep it in the centre of your focus.

The next few steps will help you keep the goal the goal and ensure the journey to reaching it is a lot smoother.

READ MORE | Get In The Habit Of Building Habits To Crush Your Goals!

Set coinciding behavioural goals

You now have your big outcome-based goal, the final destination. To get there, you need to determine what behaviours are necessary along the way and set goals according to them.

If your goal is to drop below 10% body fat then behavioral goals essential to this could be:

  • I will perform 5 hard training sessions per week
  • I will drink 4 liters of water per day and zero calorie containing beverages
  • I will avoid all high glycemic and sugary carbs, alcohol and other ‘cheat foods’.
  • I will not skip meals

You can control your behaviours, making goals out of them helps you focus on the actual actions that will determine if you achieve your ‘big’ goal.

Make failure costly

Often we don’t reach our goals because the cost of failure isn’t big enough. Relying on our own discipline and free will alone isn’t wise. It’s easy to let yourself down and make excuses for why you didn’t achieve a goal when you’re the only one who knows about it.

The best way to make failure costly is to make yourself accountable to others. Tell as many people as possible about your goal, tell them in detail. Ask the people closest to you to hold you accountable to it.

READ MORE | 6 Steps To Setting Your Goals

Determine the ‘limiting factors’

When it comes to goals, we naturally think about what you need to do to achieve a goal. However it’s just as important to plan for the things that will get in the way and slow you down.

Addressing the potential ‘limiting factors is key. Write a list of all possible factors that may get in the way and come up with a strategy to combat them.

Here are a few examples of common things people struggle with and some simple solutions:

  • I won’t have time to do all my training sessions. Solution: Book your training sessions as you would an important meeting or seek out a more time efficient training programme.
  • I struggle to get enough sleep. Solution: do some research and read information on how to improve your sleep.
  • I struggle to turn down partying with my mates. Solution: Surround yourself with like-minded people who have similar goals.
  • I struggle with old injuries. Solution: Seek professional help to sort out your injuries, and to get a program designed around them.
  • I can’t eat 100% healthy this week because I have a birthday, wedding, etc. Solution: Use the event as your one planned cheat meal or go to the event full from eating healthy food before.

Life will always try and get in the way, whatever your limiting factors are it’s important to acknowledge them and to be prepared for when they try get in the way.

READ MORE | How To Start Over After Failure

Evaluate often

The final step is to constantly evaluate. Set up a regular weekly time to reassess your progress. This is how you keep yourself accountable. A Sunday afternoon works well for me, setting up the week ahead.

Ask yourself the following: Did my behaviours match my goals this week? Some other specific questions may include:

  • Was I consistent with my diet, how many cheats did you have?
  • Did I train hard every session?
  • Did I sleep at least 8 hours every night?
  • Did I improve my lifts in some way?

During your evaluation session, do your weekly measurements (weight, body fat, etc.) to track your progress. And go through your training journal, reflecting on your training numbers.

After you have evaluated your behaviours and measured your progress, set yourself new behavioural goals for the week ahead.

READ MORE | 6 Tools To Help Boost Motivation & Achieve Your Goals

Make it happen

It’s easy to come up with a general goal, a vague idea of what you want to achieve. Everybody has goals but very few people actually achieve them. It’s essential to take the time to carefully consider exactly what you want to achieve, setting a SMART goal. Use the outlined steps planning carefully to turn your goals into a reality once and for all.

READ MORE | It’s The Perfect Time To Try A 30-Day Challenge

By Scott MacIntosh, BA Sports Science (Hons) (UJ), strength and conditioning coach, RKC kettlebell instructor and owner of The Yard Athletic

Author: Pedro van Gaalen

When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.

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