While goal setting is easy, actually following through and achieving them is a completely different story. The two main reasons we don’t achieve our goals are that our goals are too vague, and …
While goal setting is easy, actually following through and achieving them is a completely different story. The two main reasons we don’t achieve our goals are that our goals are too vague, and we don’t create actionable plans to get from where we are now to where we want to go. Today we’re going to talk about how to reverse-engineer your goals so you can actually achieve them.
In order to set a goal that we can achieve, we need to first get clear on what we want in the first place. For this example, let’s say the goal is to lose twenty pounds. Losing twenty pounds is quite vague and can be accomplished in many different ways. In order to make this goal more specific, we need to ask ourselves what else is important. A more specific goal would be “I am going to lose twenty pounds while maintaining muscle mass and strength.”
This tells me that I am going to work on losing fat, but will continue to eat protein, lift weights, and prioritize other areas of my life other than just food.
The next thing we must do is add a timeframe to our goal. When we don’t make our goal time-bound, we have the opportunity to get distracted from our goal, or constantly feel like we aren’t doing well enough because we haven’t achieved it yet. A realistic amount of time to accomplish this goal is four months.
Now, my goal says “I am going to lose twenty pounds in four months while maintaining muscle mass and strength.”
Once we have our specific and time-bound goal, we must figure out how we will measure it and keep track of our progress along the way. For this goal, we must measure our weight to determine how many pounds we’ve lost, and we also must measure weight lifted during our workouts.
An appropriate way to track both of these measures is to take the average of your body weight each day for a week and compare week to week, and keep a log of how much weight you lift for each exercise in the gym. Measuring your progress helps not only keep you on track, but also helps us from feeling inadequate and giving up.
Now that we have our goal, timeframe, and measurements in place, it’s time to get clarity on the actions we need to take over the next four months to achieve the goal.
An example of actions we could take to achieve this goal include strength training three times per week, walking for thirty minutes per day, eating 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight, drinking a gallon of water per day, and sleeping for at least seven hours every night. These actions would set us up to be in a caloric deficit, maintain muscle mass and strength through exercise and protein intake, and recover well through water intake and sleep.
The last two things we need to do in order to reverse-engineer our goals and set ourselves up for success are to find a way to hold ourselves accountable, and determine what the reward will be for completion.
Accountability is important because it is very challenging to achieve a goal like this on our own, and as humans, we are meant to be in community. Find a person to share your goal and your progress with that you can trust and that will cheer you on along the way.
Once you achieve the goal, it’s important we have a reward in place that helps keep us excited and motivated and also helps us solidify our behavior as something we’d like to continue. Choosing a reward is completely up to you, but make sure it feels exciting and worth the risk and work required to achieve your goal.
I hope this breakdown helps you feel more confident in setting and achieving your next health goal. Remember to make your goal specific, time bound, actionable, and measurable with a form of accountability and a fun reward at the end. You’ve got this!
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