Every coach, mentor, teacher, and trainer of any kind emphasizes the importance of setting goals. For those of us who are trying to balance work, home, and personal life needs and wants, we need to pay attention to several elements of goals. Yes, we need to have goals, and be clear on what they are.
How Should You Be Setting Goals?
Know What Your Goal Is
Think about what you want to achieve. Then put it in writing. Above all, learn! Get knowledgeable help to figure out if what you want to work towards is actually doable.
Realistic or Fanciful (Wishful Thinking)
We need to know what it takes to achieve what we say we want. Becoming an Olympic-level athlete usually means focusing only on what gets us closer to that one goal; nothing else matters. This goal is not realistic if we want to have a life in addition to our physical fitness performance levels. Another type of wishful thinking would be wanting to play professional basketball when a person is five feet tall (even six feet tall nowadays isn’t enough to get serious attention). Being able to bench press a certain amount of weight, or have a certain body composition, by a certain date may have a lot of components to achieving that goal, but those components are both definable and tangible.
What Constitutes a Real Goal
One of the most useful definitions of setting goals is that it they are maps: measurable, attainable, personal, and specific. If they’re not, the Cheshire Cat’s observation applies: “If you don’t know where you are going any road can take you there” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland. Most of us want to achieve something definite by working out. We really need to know what that something is.
“The world is what you make of it, friend. If it doesn’t fit, you make alterations.” – Stella, in the movie, Silverado. If a goal doesn’t fit, we can adjust it. Becoming an Olympic athlete not realistic because taking care of the family is a priority? How about becoming as physically fit and proficient as possible in that sport given the time available for working out? Too short to play NBA basketball? How about getting involved in an aspect of the sport that doesn’t have a height requirement?
The whole topic of goals is HUGE. Entire books have been written on the subject (there are more than 23,000 books available from Amazon alone). Motivational speakers bring the idea of goals up all the time. This blog post is meant to start the ball rolling. Simply thinking about fitness goals, be they realistic or wishful thinking, one or a few or many, general or specific, puts us on the road to figuring out what we’re doing, what we want, and how to get from here to there.