For me, setting goals is easy, I’ve been doing it for over 30 years. I started off with very vague goals, and slowly learned how to create good goals. Then when I started in my career, I learned how to make specific goals, and finally, I learned how to not only create excellent goals but also how to create a roadmap to help actually achieve the goal. The other thing I have learned is that most people do not know how to set goals, or know how to achieve those goals that they do manage to set.
Usually when you go into goal setting training, all you learn is the SMART goal system. This post will go further at provide an order of magnitude more information. I’ll talk about MTO (Minimum, Target, Outrageous goals), pathways to success, and mastery. These are the tools required to be truly able to achieve your goals.
The first step in creating goals is working from a vision of the future you want to have become reality. This vision includes things what you want to look like, how you want to live, what you do for entertainment, what kind of person you want to be, and what you do to make money. You need to have a general idea of what you wish the future to look like in order to set your goals.
The next step in creating goals is working within the SMART framework. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time bound. This is an easy way to remember the process for setting your goals.
Specific: A specific goal applies a preciseness to the goal. So instead of saying I want to lose weight, you say I want to lose 15Kg of body fat.
Measurable: Measurable means you can test for progress. The 15Kg of weight loss statement is a good example. You can measure how close you are to success.
Achievable: Achievable means you can actually accomplish what you want to do. Maybe you think 15Kg is OK, but I want 45Kg. But, if dropping 45Kg means you will lose muscle and bone mass because 15Kg of weight loss gets you to 7% bodyfat, then 45Kg is not achievable.
Relevant: Relevant means the goal advances you towards your vision. If your vision for yourself is to be a healthy and fit person and you set a goal of buying a Ferrari in 5 years is not relevant. Losing 15Kg of bodyfat is relevant to the vision.
Time Bound: Time bound means you apply a time limit to the goal. The time limit provides an impetus to achieve the goal, otherwise, it’s just a dream. So, if you state “I want to lose 15Kg of body fat and get down to 10% body fat in 15 weeks” is a SMART goal.
MTO goals means setting Minimum, Target, and Outrageous goals. Many times people become dismayed when they find themselves having problems achieving their goals. So set a minimum where if you achieve that goal, at least you did something, your target is what you really want to achieve, and an outrageous goal is what would happen if the universe aligned and everything went right. So, for the weight loss goal above, you minimum could be 10Kg, your target would be 15Kg, and an outrageous goal would be 17Kg.
Pathway to Success
This is the part many people fail to explain about goal setting. Usually, people set their goals, then they go now what? Now you break your goal down into mini goals. 15Kg in 15 weeks means 1Kg per week. 1Kg per week means 142g per day. 1Kg of body fat is 7700 calories, and that works out to a 1100 daily calorie deficit. Split evenly between exercise and food, means 550 calories of food and 550 calories of exercise. Once you know your exercise and food targets, you can keep track of them. You can go further and plan each hour or section of your day. Now you know your pathway to success, and you need to plan each day to reach the daily target.
Your daily target could be a list of things:
20 minute walk during morning coffee break
40 minute walk during lunch break
20 minute walk during afternoon coffee break
Walk the stairs at work (10 minute of exercise because there are a lot of stairs)
Make a low calorie lunch at home to eat at work instead of going out to eat
0% alcohol beer instead of regular beer after work
Put 75% of the food on your plate your normally do for supper
Add all of these list items up and you can easily have an 1100 calorie swing, all without drastically changing your lifestyle or going to the gym.
What Does Mastery Look Like?
Finally, you need to identify what a master at weight loss and weight management would do. What kind of actions does someone who knows how to do this instinctively take? The following is a list of activities mastery would look like:
Know approximate calorie values for food and exercise
Know their basal metabolic caloric rate
Exercise every day
Do things the hard way instead of the easy way (stairs instead of elevator, stand instead of sit at desk)
Track food calories
Track exercise calories
Keep an eye on food calories
Adjust calorie needs based on trends
Usually, most people will only talk about setting the goals, then just leave the rest up to you. This blog post went beyond that to show you how to achieve your goals. Goal setting takes practice, setting good goals takes training, work and practice. Defining your pathways to success makes achievement easier. Knowing the behaviors
you need to model helps you get into the habit of doing those actions.