Goal Setting: There's a better way

Note from Luke:

This week we are excited to bring you a guest blog post from Jeremy Phillips.  Jeremy is a CSCS, Precision Nutrition Certified and works with athletes and trainees of all levels.

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible” -Tony Robbins

The New Year brings in a lot of excitement: people are looking back as they reflect on what 2018 brought them while looking eagerly towards the possibilities to what 2019 can bring them. You want to accomplish something this year. I suggest you look at whatever you want to get done this year as a journey.

Let’s talk about an overlooked and under-appreciated tool that will help you through your journey: goals. Goals are a great tool since they direct your attention, effort, and actions over the day. In other words, goals provide you with a framework to make choices throughout your busy life. In fact, once goals are set they can affect our decision making without even being on our mind as they can influence at a subconscious level. Below we will talk about goals setting, taking action towards your goals, and measuring your progress.

Goal Setting 

University of Maryland’s School of Business is a leading center on goals from the research performed by Phd. Edwin Locke over the last 50 years. Here are Dr. Locke’s tips on goal setting from New Direction in Goal Setting (2006).

Goals should be…

-Attainable: It is important that you have the resources to make this goal happen. Also, the goal should not conflict with your life style factors. Take a few moments to consider the importance things in your life. It is great to look like a model on a cover of a magazine, but you will have to make a lot of trade-offs to get there. Make sure the goal you want will not take away what is important to your happiness and success in life. 

-Challenging: There is a strong relationship between how difficult goals are and getting them done. People tend to be more motivated when they set difficult goals. Take a few seconds to picture the satisfaction you are going to feel when you reach your goal! This results in you having greater persistence and effort during your journey.

-Specific: Define your goal to avoid vagueness. A goal to lose weight is vague. You have no way to know if it is attainable or challenging. A goal to lose 10Lbs in 5 weeks is clearly defined. People tend to put in great effort when goals are defined.

-Feedback Driven: Set up a way to measure your progress you have completed toward your goals. We will discuss these as progress milestones soon.

- Confidence Boosting: An often overlooked aspect of goal setting is your level of confidence towards the goal. Ask yourself, On a scale of 1-10 how confident am I with my next step for my goal? We want to feel highly confident, above a 7. Readjust your next steps until you are at a high confident rate. We must apply this to our process tasks. Which is another thing we will tackle shortly.

Note from Luke" Confidence in achieving a goal is an overlooked aspect and I am glad Jeremy brought it up.  Are you confident you can do a super-strict diet long-term? No?  Then how about starting with something you're more confident in like eating more veggies?"

Progress Milestones and Actions

Your goal is a journey. I picture it as a journey up a mountain. This seems a daunting task, but Lao Tzu famously said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Tzu meant it is the little actions that breathes life into the end goal. If you wanted to climb Mount Everest you would want the summit to be the result. This does not provide you any clear steps on how to achieve it and no measurements to provide you with feedback. This is where milestones are useful. Milestones are measurements that provide feedback on your advancement towards your goal. These are the basecamps you need to reach to climb to Everest summit. Now you have a goal and feedback, but you still do not have any clear steps for action. This is where process tasks are introduced. Process tasks are the steps you take to get you to the next basecamp. Basically, the actions you use to get you to achieve your process milestones! Here is an example for one of my goals for 2019:

My goal for 2019 is to read 24 books. The milestones I have set are to completed 5 chapters a week. My process tasks are to bring the book I am reading with me everywhere I go and to read for at least 30 minutes each day. These tasks will lead to me reading 5 chapters a week. These chapters will eventually lead me to finishing all 24 books this year!

Take Away Challenge: Now it is your turn! Write out your goal, process milestones, and your tasks that will get you to your goals. Every day you do your process tasks mark a tally on a calendar. Get 10 tallies in a row!

About the author:

Jeremy  Phillips is a Performance Coach, a CSCS and is Precision Nutrition Certified

You can follow him on Instagram @complete_warrior