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Setting Goals for Success

May 12, 2022

Setting Goals for Success.

You’ve probably heard the famous quote that says: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results.”

Have you actually ever self-examined how this quote relates to your motives behind your goals or your daily habits that maybe aren’t so healthy?

I’ve been in the fitness industry over 10 years and 3 years ago I became a certified life coach. Becoming a life coach sealed the deal for me because in the fitness industry the key component that’s truly missing is not just having a healthy mindset, but examining your mindset.

My hopes are by the end of this article you’ll have an aha moment as to why it’s so important to transform your mindset and why it is the true ingredient to change over anything you’ll ever do in the gym. It is what makes or breaks your success.

Goal setting for both success and sustainability require a certain energy. And typically, when setting goals, people fall into one of two categories. They either set their goals from inspiration or desperation. Desperation fueled goals are not sustainable and typically are not achieved. They are empty goals that come from willing oneself and many times berating of the self. Inspiration fueled goals are usually achieved and sustained.

Let’s take a deeper look at what this really means.

My favorite one to pick apart and the one that most society struggles with is weight loss. A weight loss goal coming from desperation looks like this. The goal. I want to be a size 4. I want to be 130lbs. I want to lose 25lbs. Then the behavior behind it is stepping on the scale daily and getting mad you aren’t there yet. Remember the quote? Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? Stepping on the scale over and over and having a desperation fueled goal is having an empty goal and setting yourself for massive disappointment. It’s like standing over a seed you just planted and yelling at it for not being a flower yet.

So, you may be asking what an inspiration goal looks like. An example would be someone who would like to lose 25 lbs. They might like to be a size 4, but it’s not their focus at all. They aren’t obsessed with it and don’t tie it to whether they are succeeding or not. Right now they may lift two days a week, feel stronger, have better endurance, and they realize that’s a great start. It hasn’t quite gotten them to their next goal therefore they are going to have to get creative and do something new.

Maybe they’ve always wanted to run a 10k. They might start looking at 10k’s and train for one. They are going to focus on what it will feel like to cross that finish line and know in the process that they are upping their cardio in addition to the lifting. They are going to focus on the rewarding feeling they will have as they cross that finish line and how proud they will be of their commitment to it. They are going to focus on what inspires rather than what condemns.

In 2013, I wanted to lose 25 lbs. I was going through a breakup and didn’t want to focus on the breakup. I wanted to focus on something for myself. I signed up for a half-marathon (I had never run a 5k) and through that training I released the 25lbs. I also learned so much about myself and mindset. I grew emotionally, and it was incredible for my self-esteem. I never focused on the weight. I focused on achieving something way outside my comfort zone and who I was becoming in the process. This is an inspiration fueled goal.

Maybe you don’t like to run. I get it. Another version of an inspiration fueled goal could be this. Hey there’s a cardio challenge at the gym. (We currently have this going on this month) I’m going to make my goal doing cardio 3 days a week this month and commit to that. I know that by making that my goal and not “I have to be a certain number” it will not only make me feel better and create new habits, but it will add to making my goal more achievable and take the pressure off that I’ve been putting on myself.

Or, there’s this dress that I really want to wear to a function in 6 months. I’m going to get the dress and focus on how I’ll feel when I wear it. I’m going to keep a picture of it in my phone and look at it daily and take a few minutes to remind myself how it’s going to feel wearing it.

I’m going to plan a vacation that has a ten-mile hike. I’ve never hiked that far. I’m going to start training for that hike so that when I can look out over that mountain, I can feel proud of myself for reaching the top. And in the process, I’m doing good for my body.

Goals fueled by inspiration feel good. Goals feel by desperation feel awful. Goals fueled by inspiration grow us. Goals fueled by desperation condemn us. A good measure of this is when you are creating the habits to get you there do they move you forward or make you feel bad? Does stepping on the scale every day focusing on a number move you forward? Does committing to trying something new, expanding your mindset, focusing on what you CAN do today to move you forward create health? You better believe it does. Choosing the small things and the small wins daily are what create big wins later.

Maybe you wish you could walk outside in your favorite park but you don’t have the time to commute there. In this case you have to ask yourself,”What CAN I do?” Ok I cannot have exactly what I want at this moment but what can I do to move myself forward? What can I do that’s great for me? Maybe it means coming a bit early or staying a little after your session for cardio listening to an uplifting podcast in your headset or music you love or even sounds of nature.

Inspiration moves us. Desperation stagnates us and leaves us empty and bitter. Do you feel the difference?

Also, when we focus on what we don’t have we miss out on acknowledging ourselves for what we do have. Healthy mindset is another muscle that has to be worked. And it’s the muscle that fuels EVERYTHING in your life. Most people have no idea how much mindset affects their entire life. Having an unhealthy mindset keeps you in viewing from a limited lens. Having an expanded mindset shows us what’s possible and creates confidence within.

A good analogy of this is two people who live in the same building in NYC only one lives on the ground level and one lives on the top floor. The one on the ground level may believe that it’s hot and the sounds of the traffic are annoying and that their view sucks. While the person in the same exact building who has a different perspective that lives on the top floor thinks the view is miraculous and beautiful. Two people living in the same exact building having completely different experiences. This is exactly the same as two people doing the same workouts who are viewing through different lenses. One may be focused on everything that hasn't happened for them yet and will think nothing is good enough and stay in a "negative” mindset. The other is focused on what IS happening, what’s great about it, and what they ARE doing.

Trust me when I can personally say, I’ve lived with both mindsets and done the true work to move from a complaining mindset to an expanded mindset. Trust me when I say my whole life changed when my mindset changed. Trust me when I say we as trainers can see who has the mindset and who doesn’t. It makes the difference. It IS the difference.

If you want to successfully set goals you have to work on your mind. And this comes from what you feed it on a regular basis. In one of my earlier articles, I mentioned how important it is to be a willing and able participant in your journey. That’s a great place to start. If you missed it, you can read that article here.

And in the meantime, are you doing the same thing over and expecting different results? To change your results, you have to do something different.

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