12 Steps to Clear, Effective Goal Setting

Posted on Oct 11, 2011 in Health & Wellness

Step 1: Develop desire for health and being fit—Our actions are usually based on fear or desire. If you are trying to implement changes because you fear you’ll never achieve the weight or health you desire, you are most likely going to fail. Fear is a powerful force, but not one that spurs you toward greatness.

Desire, on the other hand, is like a burning fire within and has the power to change you to the core.

Step 2: Believe you CAN be successful—In order to fully achieve anything, you must believe it is possible at a cellular level. To make your goals obtainable, set short-term goals that slowly but surely lead up to your long-term goal.

Step 3: You MUST write it down—Having a goal of exercising optimally or weighing a certain amount is not a goal if it is not in writing—it’s just a fantasy.  Once your goal is in writing, it is concrete.

Write out your goal in two ways.

  1. Use a lot of detail. Be specific on what your life will be like when you have met your goal. Let your imagination run wild. Then, put this in an envelope to read when you need encouragement and motivation.
  2. Write down one sentence that captures what your goal is. Write this sentence out on several post-it notes and place them in your car, at your office, on your bathroom mirror and one by your bed. Each time you pass one by, read your sentence and spend a minute or two visualizing what that feels like.

Step 4: Make a list of all the ways you will benefit from achieving your goal, and get EMOTIONAL—This is similar to what was recommended above, but with focus on your emotions; how you want to feel. Plugging in your emotional reasons for wanting to optimize your fitness and fat loss is crucial. It is the “why” to the “what.”

Emotional benefits may include having more energy, looking better, feeling great, or fitting into a dress. Reviewing this on a regular basis will assist in keeping you motivated.

Always use the word “I” with each goal, and write it in the present tense. Your subconscious mind responds only to commands that are personal, positive and in the present tense. Remember that unless you have emotion attached to your reasons, the likelihood that you will succeed is radically reduced.

Step 5: Analyze your starting point—This will provide a baseline to measure your progress from. If your goal is to lose weight, weigh yourself and write down where you are. If your goal is to lower your cholesterol or blood pressure, have your cholesterol or blood pressure measured and write down where you are.

Step 6: Set a deadline—Setting a deadline for a tangible goal (such as reaching a certain weight) “programs” your cells to achieve that goal by a certain time, if not sooner.

However, if your goal is intangible, such as “optimizing health,” do not set a deadline. If you set a deadline on an intangible goal, the date you set will be the first date your cells are programmed to actually start demonstrating that quality.

If you do set a deadline and fail to reach it, set another deadline.

Step 7: Make a list of obstacles—After listing all the possible obstacles you can think of, re-list them in order of the difficulty to overcome them.

Step 8: Identify the additional information you will need to achieve your goal—There are multiple resources available on many subjects, so research the area you’re pursuing and empower yourself with all of the information you can. Setting a goal and going after it without knowing why you are going after it is a sure-fire way to stop short of your goal.

Step 9: Make a list of all the people whose help and cooperation you will require—This may include family, friends, co-workers, your doctor and whomever else you deem appropriate. But be careful. Select only those you know will support and encourage you to the fullest.

Unfortunately, there are people who seem to want to sabotage others, especially when it comes to trying to lose weight or achieve better health. Educate the people you select on the reasons you are working toward your goal. If you present it well, they may even decide to join you and then you will be really supported and held accountable!

Step 10: Write out your plan—Now it’s time to write out, in detail, the entire plan: what you want, when you want it, why you want it, and from where you are starting. List the obstacles to overcome, the information you will need and the people you need to help you. Use steps 1-9 to help with this.

Step 11: Use visualization—It’s a powerful tool. If you can see it and feel it, you can get it. Visualize yourself participating in activities that add life and provide energy. Picture how good you will feel when implementing your plan. Imagine your new life.

Take time to do this each day. Right before bed is a powerful time to engage in visualization.

Step 12: Make the decision in advance that you will never, ever, give up—Surround yourself with those who are choosing wisely and who care enough about you to hold you accountable. We all have days, or weeks, where we slip. The important thing is that you realize this, admit it, and get back with the program.