Successful Goal Setting is a Process

Enjoying an end of March 2024 bike ride along Summerlin by Lakes Park, Fort Myers.
Photo Courtesy of Charly Caldwell II

With more than 25 years of experience working in the health and fitness industry, I have had countless clients, friends, and family members tell me about their fitness goals.

Some want to lift more weights, others want to improve their marathon time and of course, the old classic – everyone is trying to lose weight.

One thing they all share is that they are outcome focused.

Unfortunately, despite the best intentions, I rarely see enough people ever achieve their goals. 

I often end up in a conversation with someone about where they went wrong.

Was their goal too ambitious?
Were they lazy?
Did something outside of their control derail them?

Of course, it could be a combination of these factors, but I believe the real issue lies in poor planning. 

Statistically speaking, only a whopping 3% of people ever actually achieve their fitness goals. 

If your sole focus is on the outcome, you may be missing important steps along the way.

I believe a more effective way to set goals is to think of them in a three-step equation:

Process + Performance = Outcome

For example, consider a goal of losing weight - 10 lbs in 3 months. 

Now that we have a specific outcome in mind we can work backwards and set up an appropriate process that will put us in the best position to achieve our goal.

Conventional nutrition wisdom tells us that a reduction of 3500 calories per week will result in a loss of 1lbs.

Therefore, if we aim for a deficit of 500 calories per day, we will lose 1 pound/week, and in 3 months we should reach our goal of losing 10 lbs. 

Knowing this, we can set up a process.  

A reasonable plan to achieve this deficit would be working out 4 times per week (burning 500 calories/session) and restricting our food intake the other 3 days per week. 

With a process in place, it’s time to set performance standards to ensure progress and success. 

Date collection is crucial for this step because we can manage what we can measure. There are plenty of apps available to monitor workout performance and ensure you are burning enough calories during each session. 

You can then log your workouts in an exercise journal to foster adherence. Tracking our calories on non-training days is easy with the multitude of available nutrition apps as well.

If you aren’t achieving your desired result, studying your data makes it easy to course correct.

Maybe life gets busy and making four gym session 4 times per week is unrealistic. 

No need to panic, we can always adjust nutrition intake or add in a weekend workout.  Setting realistic performance standards is crucial for goal setting so we can manage progress.

Now that we're into the new year, it's time to ask yourself are you any closer to reaching the goals you've laid out for the new year? 

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Let's go on this journey together and change your life as always, “Practice with Purpose and Live with Passion!”




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