Did you set a resolution in 2012? Have you stuck with it? Resolutions often fail because of the lack of personal investment. Instead of resolutions, I encourage you to develop a system of goals that will help you make your dream a reality. Goals should be written, specific, personally meaningful, and challenging statements of intent, which have a measurable outcome and a completion date. I have begun posting my personal goals for 2013. You are reading the tagline everywhere – forget resolutions! Let’s set goals and build the foundation for lasting change.
So, how do you set yourself up for success? Dr. Kenneth Cooper, founder of The Cooper Institute, has established protocol for setting achievable goals. To begin you need to answer four key questions:
1. Where am I? You need to determine your baseline fitness level. Norms are used to show you where you stand in relation to others of similar age, gender, weight, height, etc. Your will need to determine your current fitness level based on these norms – a qualified fitness professional can help with this. This baseline fitness level will be the measure on which you base your success.
2. Where do I want to be? This is your goal, your desired level of fitness. It’s better for a goal to be too easy than too hard. Yet, the goal still needs to be challenging enough and require effort. However a goal that is too difficult leaves you frustrated and bitter, leading you to abandon the goal and give up completely.
Goals are dreams with deadlines. Do you honestly expect to change lifelong habits overnight? Overambitious timetables, not unrealistic goals, are often the cause of failure. Dr. Kenneth Cooper’s protocol provides realistic timelines for achieving your desired outcome. Each fitness component is broken into categories, such as excellent, good, fair, and poor, and includes the amount of time, on average, it takes for significant improvement (one fitness category). Dr. Cooper’s recommended timelines for each component are as follows:
- Cardiorespiratory fitness—12 weeks
- Strength—8 weeks
- Muscular endurance—8 weeks
- Flexibility—8 weeks
- Body composition—12-16 weeks
3. How do I get there? The important piece that people often miss is that you need to determine how you are going to achieve your goal. You need to have a plan.
4. How do I stay there? Education, motivation, and commitment are crucial for the long-term maintenance of weight loss.
Tips for successful goals:
- Take some time to think about your goal and create a plan based on your personal desires derived on a positive outcome.
- Write down your goal and document your progress.
- Give the goal positive meaning. Negative = “I want to lose 10 pounds.” Positive “I will wear a size 6 dress for New Year’s Eve 2013.”
- Remove all negative influences. We must warn you of the nay-sayers who will question your desires and wishes for a number of reasons. Keep in mind most people feel guilty for not having your commitment to health and/or fitness. They feel it is easier to hold you down rather than rise to your standards.
- Concentrate on the systems and processes necessary to achieve the goal…and not on the end outcome. What does this mean? If your goal is to lose weight, instead of focusing on that weight loss, focus on attending boot camp 3 times a week. Each week that you’ve attended 3, take pride in knowing that you are one step closer to your dream.
- Take small steps. Pick one part of your plan, get it done and recognize the successes of that one piece and then move on to the next.
- Focus on the positive things that are happening.
- Make your goals progressive. Find a way to be rewarded as you go. Do you think a marathon runner counts each mile on her way to the finish line? Absolutely! Celebrate each and every milestone you reach.
- Tell others about your goal. Tell your friends, family, and coworkers what your goal is and ask for their support in your efforts.
- Find the beast within. You need to really want to get amazing results and be prepared to do whatever we ask to achieve those results. It’s not that hard to get the results — it’s building that overwhelming desire that counts.
- Adjust from hurt to help. Replace: ‘Well – this cake won’t hurt me will it? with, ‘Will this help me or not? Is this a positive step or not?’ Once you get that — you’re a hit.
Once you understand that everything you do each day takes you either closer to or farther from your goals, then and only then will you be on the fast track to success.