Ok, setting clear fitness goals is great, but what really matters is figuring out how to stick to your fitness goal. The truth of the matter is, it doesn’t matter what kind of awesome goal you set if you’re not going to follow through with the plan.
In my last post I talked about setting different levels and types of goals, but how do you stick with it when the going gets tough?
1. Clearly figure out your reason “why”.
“Knowing your why” is kind of a buzzword/phrase right now, thanks to Simon Sinek’s (good) book to that effect. In essence, most people view that as having some sort of grand, underlying connection that is going to drive you forward through the hard times of your goal. Providing a better life for your kids, experiencing freedom, finding the love of your life, and so on are all common examples of that.
I think that’s great. However, not every goal is going to be connected easily to a grand, unifying force.
You can, however, establish some focus and clarity.
Think about it. Let’s say your boss gives you a project but doesn’t really tell you about it and it doesn’t make sense. You know how to DO it, but you don’t have any connection to it. Are you going to get it done? Of course, it’s your job, but your motivation is probably going to be on the low side.
Now, imagine that you understand the project, why it’s important to the company, and why that is important to you. You’ll be much more likely to dig in and get it done faster and better.
It’s the same way with your fitness goals. It’s great to try to lose ten pounds or add 25 on your squat, but if you haven’t thought out how those will improve your life, then you’re just playing sweaty video games… and you don’t even know how the scoring works.
2. Utilize the Pleasure/Pain Principle.
Humans basically don’t change unless one of two things or a combination of them happens:
We move towards pleasure and we move away from pain.
And honestly, we are likely to go way further and faster to avoid pain than we are to achieve pleasure. Think about it from an evolutionary point of view: Your brain/body’s only real goal is to survive and (hopefully) pass on your genes. If something is painful, then it might end that quest right then. If something is pleasurable, it’ll probably help the quest, but living and dying is governed by pleasure.
So you need to associate your goal with either escaping from the pain your current state has you in or seeking the pleasurable state that achieving it will get you.
This can be as simple as deeply visualizing one or each of these things several times per day, or you can take it a step further and set up consequences to your action: If you fail, then you need to do something that you would consider painful, such as donating to a charity you are against, making a public FB post, etc. If you succeed, then set yourself up with a reward, which could be like buying new clothes, taking a special trip, or whatever you feel would motivate you.
Lots of people simply set goals. It’s a running joke around New Year’s time. Few follow through, and I firmly believe it’s because most people stop with just talking and setting a goal, rather than firming up and establishing a clear path AND a clear motivation.
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