Goal Setting

21 Nov

“Goals in writing are dreams with deadlines” – Brian Tracy

One of the first questions any trainer will ask a new client is “What are your goals?”.  Most people have a general idea of what they want (lose weight, feel better, become healthier) but haven’t taken the time to create specific, measurable goals…. never mind writing these goals down or  sharing them with others.

I worked at lululemon a few years ago and they were really big into Goal-Setting.  Now, I’ve always enjoyed writing down the things I want, but lulu helped me turn my “wish list” into a clearly organized set of goals.  I wrote my goals onto a nice piece of paper, framed, and decorated it 🙂  Every now and then I’ll look back to see how I’m progressing, though it’s also interesting to see how goals can change over time.

Let’s go over some strategies, shall we? 🙂

Create S.M.A.R.T Goals

Specific — Get detailed!  The more thought and detail you put into creating your goals, the more real they seem, the more invested you become, and the more likely they are to turn into a reality.  So don’t just say you want a job, say  “I want to work as a Human Resources Manager at CIBC”.  Ask yourself the questions: What do I want? Who is involved? Why do I want this? What are my constraints?

Measurable — How will you know when you’ve achieved your goal?  Saying you want to lose weight is fine, but that could mean anything from 1-50 lbs!  Make your goal measurable.  “I want to lose 7 lbs” or “I want to fit into a size 8 dress”.  Questions like: How much/many?

Attainable —  Voyons donc... If your goal is unrealistic then how will you ever keep up the long-term motivation that’s needed to attain it?  I would LOVE to be a millionaire by next year, but that’s not going to happen; “I want to save $5,000 this year” sounds a little more manageable.  Having said that, don’t set mediocre goals.  Your goals should be something that evoke a strong, emotional desire within you to achieve them…. something that makes your mouth salivate!

Relevant — Setting lofty goals is great, but if it has no real bearing to your life, then what’s the point?  “I want to be an astronaut”…. huh?  How about “I want to become a world-class Personal Trainer”.  Ask  yourself: Does this seem worthwhile?

Timely — Remember how in school you only did work when there was a deadline involved?  Same thing here.  Put a “by when” statement at the end of your goal sentence:  “I want to clear my debt by September 2012”.

Use Positive Statements

You’ll be more likely to pursue goals that create a positive feeling than those that focus on negative feelings.  For example, instead of saying “I won’t cheat on my diet anymore”, say “I will stick to my diet for the next 7 days”.  Also, changing the beginning of your sentence from “I want to” to “I will” can be a powerful mental trick:  “I want to go to the gym 4 times this week” vs. “I will hit the gym 4 times this week”…. just seems like less room for doubt and deviation, doesn’t it?


Don’t just limit yourself to a couple goals, create multiple categories: Financial, Personal (family, fun, travel, etc), Physical, Career, Education, and whatever else you dare to dream of!

Think Ahead…. Then Way Ahead

Set short, medium, and long-term goals; the shorter term ones can be precursors to the longer term goals, or they can be completely separate.  I like to organize mine into 6 months, 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years.  But you can range them anywhere from 24 hours to 25+ years if you want!

Write It Down

Don’t just sit here and think about your goals…. reach over to your printer, grab a paper, and start writing them out!  It’s amazing how much more organized your thoughts become when you write them down.  And you may be surprised at how many things come out once you get going!  Then, once you’ve finished writing them down, don’t just throw that paper away – put it up on the fridge or in the bathroom or bring it to the office.  Share it with your friends, spouse, and kids (better yet, why not make another shared list of goals WITH your spouse and kids?!).  Let them get excited with you and help you to accomplish your goals.  “Committing your goals to paper increases the likelihood of your achieving them by one thousand percent!” – Brian Tracy

Here are some of my goals (they’re actually more detailed on paper, but this is the gist of it): “By the beginning of my next contest prep (at 17 weeks out), I will weigh 117lbs”, “I will have 3 Personal Training clients by January 2012”, “I will clear my debt by December 2012″,”I will have traveled to every continent by the year 2026”.

“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve” – W. Clement Stone



3 Responses to “Goal Setting”

  1. brandon November 21, 2011 at 10:56 pm #

    Great Article!!

  2. Tess and Jess November 22, 2011 at 8:16 am #

    (Jess)- Awesome post Tess! Love this one 🙂

  3. getfitwithles November 22, 2011 at 4:29 pm #

    Awesome post Tess!! I agree it is fun and important to set goals! My goals are constantly changing as are my clients! Love this! And also love that I can hear you smiling as you write your blog. Keep the amazing ideas coming!!

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