By: Anna Bielkheden

The importance of a Goal. Prepping for that 2015 workout plan and how knowing where you are going will make or break your journey.

In business, fitness or just life in general there is one thing that remains equally important in all areas. Goal setting. If you lack a true goal, then chances are that you will falter somewhere along the line because you simply don’t have the direction to keep you on track. When the going gets tough, it’s far easier to give up when you don’t really know where you’re going, than if you have a passionate goal that you can remind yourself of. In addition, you need an actionable plan for how to get there. If you have vision but no set road, you’ll most likely fail due to inconsistency. No one can plan for life’s surprises entirely, but if you have at least a roadmap (albeit flexible to a certain degree) you have far higher odds of success.

Let’s take a mind-blowing example. In 1979, a study was conducted at the Harvard MBA program. The question for the participants was, “have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” It turns out that only 3% had written goals, 13% had goals but they were not in writing, and a staggering 87% completely lacked goals. Sort of shocking for a bunch of Harvard to-be-graduates, wouldn’t you agree?

Ten years after the study was held, the same group of people were interviewed again,
and the results were surprisingly (or maybe not?) consistent with the old polls. The 13% that had goals but failed to write them down, still earned twice (yes twice!) as much as the people that didn’t have any goals at all. Now that’s impressive. But it gets even better. The 3% who had written down their goals and in addition created a plan on how to arrive there earned on average ten times more than their 97% other peers together! Does this tell you something about the validity of goal setting?

Let’s translate this into fitness wording. What are your fitness goals? How do you plan to get there? Many people simply promise themselves every six months (or perhaps every weekend) to begin eating healthy and join the gym on Monday. Well, how has that worked out for you so far? Something keeps happening that knocks you over each time, no matter how much you want it. Perhaps it’s time you sit down with a paper and a pen, and write down the answers to these following questions:

1.Why do you want to get in shape? What’s the goal? Is it just because you want a six pack to flaunt at the beach this summer, or because you want to gain all the positive side effects from keeping a healthy body?

2.Does your goal make you excited? If it does, that’s great. If it doesn’t, how can you make it more exciting? Say you are only working out because your doctor said you had to, now how exciting is that? It becomes a chore. In this case, it might be good to think of all the other stuff you can do when you reach the goal of being fit. Perhaps your secret dream has always been to do the Iron Man challenge. Or to step on a bodybuilding stage. Or simply to look amazing in that sleek suit or dress.

3. Is your goal enough? Conversely, if you are excited about getting a six pack and that’s your only aim, then it might not be enough in the long run. Too many people are only superficially motivated, and while this may satisfy the immediate excitement requirement, does it truly last? Chances are you will even get burnt out and wonder what’s the point of chasing a quite possible unrealistic goal of being ripped to the bones. If this is the scenario, then you need to balance it out by recognizing all the healthy benefits for your body and mind that comes along with exercise. And perhaps, depending on who you are, in order to truly be sound and happy, you may need to be ok with not constantly having a six pack but just looking great and feel incredible.

4. How do you plan to get there? Do you need to hire a nutritionist? Set up a account for peer support? Maybe just join the gym and follow through? Write it down. Then stick to it.

Go ahead, try it out! Set a goal, question it, plan it and follow through. The last part is the hardest, and that’s where you’ll be using the motivation and strength from your goal setting plan.

Good luck, and don’t break any bones!

References: What they don’t teach you in the Harvard Business School by Mark McCormack




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