As we wind down the year, it’s a great opportunity to reflect on the last 12 months.
It’s a great drill to grab a piece of paper and answer the following questions:
- What are the highlights of the last year?
- What were the struggles of the last year?
- What do you wish you would have done that you did not? What opportunities did you not act on that you wish you would have?
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As you examine your answers above, do you notice any trends? For example, if your highlights are of a certain type, can you include more of the same in 2016? Or if you notice your highlights involved certain people, be sure to invite them to more of your life’s happenings. If there are certain things you wish you would have done, can you add that to your plans for 2016?
Set your intentions for 2016
You can either coast through life and see where it takes you – you’ll wind up somewhere but it may not be where you want! Or you can create a map of who you want to be, what you want to do and what you want for your life.
So be very clear with your goals for all aspects of your life…physically, professionally, mentally, socially, travel, relationships…Paint a very vivid picture of what your dream life would look like. Write it down! The brain processes things differently when it’s written down and you read it.
Grab a sheet of paper and create a list of all the goals you would like to achieve in 2016. It is your personal wish list or game plan. Remember when you were a kid making up your Christmas wish list? You wrote down everything under the sun. You did not care whether you thought you would actually get it or not. You wrote it anyways. That is what I want you to do. I want you to write down anything you have ever thought of achieving. So in terms of health and fitness, which goals, if you achieved them, would make this year unbelievable? Have you ever wanted to hike the Grand Canyon, complete a marathon, cycle through Italy, learn to Rock climb, or would you be happy with working out 4x/week consistently? What are you health and fitness wishes?
Setting goals is the key to success
But it is not enough to say, “I want to get into shape”. Effective goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reward-based and have aTime frame.
Here are some examples of SMART goal setting:
- Hike the Grand Canyon for 1 week this June.
- Run on the treadmill for 30 minutes 3x/week so complete 24 workouts by April 1st.
- Resistance train every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday so complete 48 strength workouts by July 1st
- Train for and complete the Half Marathon on April 24th
- Be able to exercise non-stop on the cardio machines for one hour without stopping by February 1st
- Work out with a personal trainer 2x/week
- Sign up for the Scuba Diving course that starts March 1st
- Drink 6 glasses of water every day by February1st
- Eat 5 small meals/snacks every day by March 1st
Each goal is clear, easy to measure your success and has a deadline. Now go back to your fitness wish-list and make sure each goal is specific, measurable, attainable and time-framed. Revise all your goals to make them as SMART as possible. You will also notice that none of the goals that I have listed include anything about body weight or size. Deciding to lose 10 pounds is an “Outcome-oriented” goal. I prefer to use “Behaviour or Action-oriented” goals. I firmly believe my approach is a lot more positive. For example, in the process of training for a half-marathon, you will definitely lose body fat but your focus is on something so much more positive. So avoid setting any weight or fat loss goals. Instead focus on the actions you can take which will promote fat loss.
But don’t stop there. Successful goal-setting requires two more things. Be prepared to reassess and reevaluate your goals on a regular basis and reward yourself once you have achieved a goal. For example, treat yourself to a massage, a new outfit or a trip. Then set your sights on the next goals. Go back to your goals and attach a reward to each one. Be sure that the reward is motivating enough to encourage you to stick to your plan.
Do the same for every aspect of your life – your career, relationships, mentally etc
Be a Human Doing, not just a Human Being. You can’t just set goals and dreams, you actually have to DO something.
If you are undertaking a major lifestyle change, the big picture may be a bit overwhelming. Take the big goal and split it into small, easily achievable goals and itsy bitsy baby steps. It will help you succeed on a regular basis and that will give you the momentum you need to reach the ultimate goal. It’s called “Results Momentum.”
No matter how small or insignificant the action step is, if you do it, it will give you the belief and self confidence to achieve the next goal and the next goal and soon you will be there!
Go back to your fitness wish list. Take the top 1-3 goals from your fitness wish list and break them down into smaller goals and action steps that will act as milestones towards your ultimate goal.
For example, if your ultimate number one goal is to complete a half marathon, here’s how you’d break it down into smaller action steps.
- Enroll in the local half-marathon running clinic that starts on January 7th.
- Purchase new footwear and clothing by December 25th
- Consult with a personal trainer for 2 sessions to get help with designing my program by January 15th.
- Schedule 3 morning runs a week with friends
- Register now and pay for the local 10km fun run mid-way through my training program
- Register now and pay for the half-marathon event on May 1st.
Surround yourself with people who are more motivated than you are and/or who have achieved the goals you have set for yourself. That energy, discipline and motivation will rub off.
Find an activity that you love
Adherence will go up dramatically if you enjoy what you are doing. Feel free to add music, a fun environment, and/or great people to make the activity even more enjoyable.
Find a workout buddy or group
When you can’t find the motivation within yourself, it’s nice to have a person, a trainer or a group waiting for you to hold you accountable.
Start this process now and you will be well on your way to an incredible 2016!
Yours in health & fitness,