When it comes to your big health and fitness-related goals for 2021, do you feel like you’re standing at the base of a really tall mountain that you don’t know how to climb? No worries, I’ve got your back (AND 5 ways to achieve your goals!).
This post will empower you to reach your goals by teaching you how to structure bombproof goals AND how to stay accountable based on your personality type.
5 Ways to Achieve Your Goals
You can’t just throw your wildest health and fitness dreams into the universe and expect them to just happen. If you want to actually reach your goals, you’ll need to invest a bit of time at the start of your journey to set yourself up for success.
I spoke about these strategies at length during my Resolution Remix lunch and learn webinar last week. If you missed it, you can catch a replay here!
Here are a few highlights from the webinar.
Make them SMART
Chances are, you’ve heard of SMART goals in school or in the workplace. But how often do you apply the framework to your own health and fitness goals?
In case you’re not familiar, SMART is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant/realistic, and time-bound.
In other words, you’ll need to state EXACTLY what you want to to in as much detail as possible, how you’ll measure progress, and when you’ll achieve this goal.
You’ll also need to make sure that you have the time, energy, desire, and support to reach this goal, and that the goal is relevant to your life right now.
What does that look like in practice? Let’s look at one of the most common resolutions among American adults, which is to work out more.
A better way of framing that might be, “Work out for 30 minutes three times a week in January to feel more energetic.”
Know Your Why
As you consider whether a goal is worthy of your time and effort, think about why you want to achieve it.
One factor to consider is whether your desire to change is motivated by extrinsic or intrinsic factors.
Extrinsic motivation refers to recognition, tangible rewards (like money), avoidance of a negative outcome, or some other incentive that comes from outside forces.
By contrast, intrinsic motivation is something intangible that comes from within. Examples include pride, knowledge, and entertainment.
Studies consistently show that we are more effective in making sustainable behavior changes when our motivation comes from within. So, you’ll want to think about what’s in it for you!
Connecting your goal to your personal values can be very helpful for that, and our new ebook is designed to walk you through that process. Fill out this form to grab your free copy.
Focus on Processes
Do you have a SMART goal that has a clear why? Awesome! Let’s take that a step further and see if we can pretty it up even more.
In my opinion as a dietitian and trainer, the strongest goals are those that focus on processes rather than outcomes. Of the 5 ways to achieve your goals in this article, this is the strategy I deploy the most with my clients.
The problem with outcome-based goals (such as, “to snatch my body weight in 2021”) is that they’re not in your control.
You’d be much better served to focus on processes and mastery, like doing 15 minutes of extra mobility work 3 times per week, or booking 5 one-on-one skill sessions with our coaches in quarter one to refine your technique.
Avoid “Avoid” Goals
One of the biggest mistakes I see in goal-setting is creating “avoid” goals, like “give up candy” or “stop staying up so late.”
There are a couple of problems with these types of goals. For one, avoid goals create a forbidden fruit situation. If I tell you to stop eating French fries, what’s the first thing you think about? Mmmhmm, fries.
The other issue with avoid goals is that they focus on what you’re doing wrong. If you want to crush your goals, you have to believe you can do it. Focus on your strengths, and what you CAN do instead!
If your goal is to stop doing something or to give up something, try reframing it as an approach goal. If your goal is to give up added sugar, you can reframe that as, “Cut up 5 servings of fresh fruit to eat for dessert every Sunday night for 4 weeks.”
Personalize Your Accountability Strategy
Once you set your, you’ll want to think a bit about how you’ll stay accountable.
There are lots of ways to do this, but my preferred framework comes from self-help author Gretchen Rubin. In her book, The Four Tendencies, Rubin profiles four personality types (aka, “tendencies”) that are based on how we respond to inner and outer expectations.
Want to know your tendency, as well as some tips for staying accountable that are individualized to your personality type? First, take this 3-minute quiz!
Then, check out our post for your tendency by clicking on the appropriate link:
Whew, that was a lot! Hopefully, you’re feeling motivated and empowered to tackle those goals, but I can help if you need more help!