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If You Don’t Have A Goal, You’re Just Floundering

 The vast majority of gym-goers grow disillusioned with their efforts and quit due to unsatisfactory results.

Let’s be clear: While not everyone can attain the physique of a Greek god or goddess, anyone can significantly improve their fitness level.  Anyone canlose fat.  Anyone can get stronger and more muscular or shapely.

But doing so requires more than just showing up at the gym and diligently completing an exercise routine.  Your efforts must be focused, and your program must be designed for a specific purpose.  Just plowing through a random collection of exercises might elevate your heart rate and burn some calories, but it won’t deliver dramatic long-term results.

Accomplishing meaningful results from your time in the gym  requires a solid plan… and the plan begins with proper goal-setting.

What, exactly, do you want to accomplish through exercising and proper eating?  Saying you want to get healthy and lose weight is too nebulous.  To be meaningful,  your goal must:

1) Be specific… “I want to lose 30 pounds of fat.”
2) Have a timeframe… “I want to accomplish this in 2 months.”

NOW we have something to shoot for, something to give us focus in the gym and at the dinner table, and the timeframe adds motivation by providing a sense of urgency.

There is, however, a problem: This goal is unrealistic.

Why? Because human physiology limits us to a maximum fat loss per week of 2 pounds.  Yes, when one first begins a diet, water weight loss can exceed 2 pounds, but after a few weeks 1-2 pounds per week is a realistic fat-loss goal.

The reality is, most people who apply adequate effort and discipline can expect to lose 6-8 pounds of fat per month.

So let’s change the timeframe to 5 months.

And let’s express our goal in a self-confident manner that reveals the power of our intentions:  “I will lose 30 pounds in 5 months.”

The next step is to write your goal down.  Psychologists say that writing down your goal makes it more concrete, embeds it in your sub-conscious mind, and multiplies the power of your intention.

In fact, make copies of your goal and post them everywhere… on your mirror, on your refrigerator door etc.  Keep a copy in your wallet too.

Remind yourself multiple times daily of the importance of your goal.

So, a goal becomes a powerful tool for self-improvement when it:
1) is specific and concrete
2) is realistic
3) has a timeframe
4) is expressed as an intention, rather than a wish
5) is written down

But we’re still not finished! 

The problem with a long-term goal is the discouragement that can set in over the lengthy time required to  achieve the goal.  Taking five months to lose 30 pounds can seem like an eternity.  Plus, we need positive reinforcement throughout the process to keep us motivated.

Therefore, we break down the long-term goal into smaller, shorter term goals.
For example:
“I will lose 1-2 pounds weekly until I have lost 30 pounds.”

Breaking a larger goal into smaller, manageable “chunks” serves several purposes.

First, it removes that self-defeating “It’ll take me forever to get there” mentality. One-week or two-week timeframes are much more manageable.

Second, short-term goals provide positive reinforcement at regular intervals, making the journey much more fun.

Third, if for some reason we don’t achieve the short-term goal, we can make adjustments to the program to keep momentum moving forward.  Working toward a long-term goal without keeping track of progress via short-term goals is like trying to catch a ball blindfolded.

So, what about you?  Are you blindly following some random exercise program, or are your sessions designed with a specific goal in mind?

February 5, 2012 | News | Comments Off on If You Don’t Have A Goal, You’re Just Floundering

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