Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Importance of Goal Setting.

Who ever coined the phrase "If you aim at nothing your going to hit it" was truly a wise individual, the whole concept of starting something with the end in mind is a powerful notion, but one that we take too lightly. If your like me, then your time and energy is valuable (and very limited) and if your going to apply yourself to something you better see some damn results. But we tend to think the results will take care of themselves as long as we give it half the effort. The fact is a workout that has no goal behind it is a useless thing, and has lead to more wasted hours in the gym then any of us care to know.
The best way to free ourselves of these pointless workouts is to begin with a tangible goal, for instance "I want to lose 10% body fat in the next two months" is something that you can strive and work for, unlike the more popular phrase "I want to lose weight" which gives you no real direction. How many times have you heard an adolescent boy say "I want to get stronger for sports" when they should really be saying things like "I want to bench 135 lbs by preseason" or "I want to run the 50-yard dash in x-amount of time by the end of summer" This simple idea of setting tangible goals not only motivates us to work harder, but it encourages us when we actually make those goal.
So now we know that goal setting is a crucial part of any active or athletic lifestyle, but how do we set a goals that are right for ourselves, and more importantly will help achieve the results that we want? Well thankfully after much trial and error in my own quest for personal fitness, I have put together a list of dos and don'ts that will clear up the air on the most common errors is goal setting.
1. Do make goal that our relevant to your lifestyle and body type. For an extreme ectomorph (a person who is naturally skinny) a goal of say "benching 250 in five weeks" will only lead to failure and frustration. Now I'm not saying that an ectomorph will never be able to bench 250, it just takes so much work that you would be better off starting with smaller goals and work up to it. Which transitions into my next point:
2. Do make short-term goals, and long-term goals. This way you not only make progress, you stay motivated all year long. A good short term goal may be something like "I want to run 3 miles in 21 minuets (a 7 min mile pace)" while a long term goal might look like "Keep going to the gym on a regular basis all year, including during the holidays."
3. Do not make the same goals that the person next to you did. Each and every person who walks through the gym doors is a unique individual therefore, each should have their own unique set of goals . A goal that says "I want to have a flat belly like that women" is not an acceptable goal.
4. Do not make negative goals, only positive ones. Instead of saying "I will stop eating junk food for the next four weeks" say "I will eat a wholesome and balanced diet that limits fatty foods to 10% or less of my daily consumption."
5. Do WRITE IT DOWN!!! I cannot emphasize this point enough, just right it down. In your journal/diary, in a Word document, a sticky note on your bathroom mirror, or for added motivation post it on your Facebook. Odds are your friends will be really supportive, and you may even inspire some others to get their butt moving. But where ever you end up writing it, make sure that you can visit it time and time again so as to make sure that you are not losing focus of your goal.
So there it is: the importance of goal setting. I hope that if you do not already set goals for yourself, this has inspired you to start. And if in a month or two you finally reach your goals, I would love to hear about it.

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