"I want to lose weight for my wedding."
"I'd like to tone up my arms."
"I really need to put some muscle on."
"I just want to get healthier."
If your reasons for exercising and eating right sound like one the phrases above, you might have a bad case of Vague-Goalatosis.
Lack of motivation
Lucky for you there's a cure. (And no, it's not more cowbell ;-))
When you have a vague goal like the examples above, you are solely focused on the outcome that you are seeking, with not enough emphasis on the behaviors needed to get there. The problem is, you can't necessarily control the exact result. You can't control how fast your body will shed fat or build muscle. You can't control how much your health markers will change or exactly what your arms are going to look like 12 weeks from now.
There's nothing wrong with wanting the things mentioned above, but you need to be more detailed with your goals, setting a timeline and a plan of attack. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Start With The End in Mind
Once you have decided on your ultimate goal, brainstorm the specific steps needed to get to it. Set challenging yet reasonable behavior goals, such as hitting the gym three times a week or tracking your food everyday for a week. We tend to overestimate how motivated and how much we'll be able to accomplish in the future, so be honest with yourself about what you can do when taking into account your current lifestyle, work schedule, and stress levels.
What Gets Measured Gets Managed
Choose concrete criteria that are meaningful to you, such as body composition, the amount of weight on a lift, or improving a running time for a particular distance. Give yourself benchmarks to hit along the way to your big goal, and don't forget to plan rewards to celebrate those small wins to give you something to look forward to. I'm a big fan of massages and new workout clothing.
While you want to set realistic goals, you do want to achieve something that is a challenge and requires total commitment. Visualize how awesome it's going to feel when you accomplish something that was out of your comfort zone. That kind of confidence can't be bought.
Create a Sense of Urgency
Without a deadline, procrastination tends to rear its ugly head. Pushing off the start date is easier, leading to half-assed action or even no action at all. Don't get too tied to a specific date, though. Things can pop up, like illness or injury, that may delay your progress for a bit. Be flexible if needed. Remember, this is a lifestyle change too.
Ok smarty pants. You're all ready to set some goals and kick some ass. Share yours below so we can all cheer you on!