Goal Setting

Did you achieve your 2016 fitness goals?

It's a well known fact that if you don't have a specific goal, you'll just drift through life. I always encourage my personal training clients to set fitness goals. I had a client in north London who set a goal to lose 4 stone in a year, and achieved it. Another client in Chelsea SW3 who wanted to gain half a stone in weight (lean muscle not fat!) and he achieved it after transforming his eating as well as exercise regime. When you set a goal, you're more likely to achieve it. Here's how:

1. Make your goals as specific and detailed as possible

Decide what your goals are, and write down specifically what they are. For instance, if you want to lose weight, decide how much you want to lose, and write down your target weight. Be specific about why you want to achieve your goal. Write a list of your motivations to lose weight. And visualise how you'll look and feel when you've reached your goal.

Example: rather than "I want to lose weight", a more specific goal would be "I want to lose 20 kilos". This is a specific, measurable goal.

Visualisation is what builds emotional intensity into your goal: Close your eyes and imagine you're standing naked in front of the mirror, having achieved your goal. How does it look and feel to have achieved your ideal physique? Now for each of your reasons why you want to achieve that goal, close your eyes and imagine how you feel in that scenario. Repeat once a day, every day. Emotional intensity is a source of energy, a potent motivator, and boosts your belief that you can achieve your goal.

2. Impose a deadline - this is vital!

Your goal must be measurable over a specific timescale. If you set a goal without a deadline, you're unlikely to achieve it at all. But with a deadline, you can monitor your progress, and take corrective action if you fall behind. For instance, if you want to lose 20 kilos, say "I want to lose 20 kilos in 20 weeks". That's 1 kg a week, which is achievable. Better still, put a note in your diary to remind you of your goal, and put a note on your fridge too! Then monitor your progress by weighing yourself at the same time every week. A deadline gives a sense of urgency and reality to your goals. Your subconscious mind will pick up on the fact that you have a deadline, and you'll be more focused on achieving your goal within that deadline.

3. Make your goal realistic

Make sure your goal is achievable and healthy. For instance, a goal to lose a stone in two weeks would be unrealistic and very bad for your health. It's better to lose weight slowly, through healthy eating (not crash dieting!) and exercise.

4. Start taking action now

As soon as you've set your goal, take action until you achieve it. And there's no better time to start taking action than right now. If you fall behind, or lose motivation, remember point 1 above. It's easier to take the necessary action when you focus on your reasons why you want to achieve your goal. 'Want-power' is more powerful than 'will-power'. Put another way, if you have a big enough 'why' you can achieve any 'what'.

As a personal trainer in London, I know how powerful goal-setting is. When my clients embrace goal setting, they reach their goals faster. Clients who don't set goals, or who set them and don't stick to them, find that it takes a lot longer to lose weight, or gain muscle, or boost their cardivascular fitness. I encourage my clients to keep their goals at the front of their minds, to stay focused and take the necessary action. Setting goals is not enough in itself, you've got to take action too.

Do you have clear goals? Can you visualise your desired end-result? Do your goals have specific deadlines? Are you taking the required action on a regular basis? Are you on track?

I might not always be popular with my personal training clients all the time, but it's part of the service to push clients to achieve their goals. That's why I hold the client to account with regular progress checks, and encourage the client to keep taking the actions necessary to reach the desired target. That means exercise action, nutrition action, and healthy-lifestyle action too!