Goal Setting: A Framework for turning your Goals into Actions
Goal setting. It’s the start of the year, you are motivated and ready to get going with your health and fitness in 2019, it’s time to set goals but you have no idea how to do it, let alone how to make them into a reality. Where do I start? What goals are the best? How will I achieve them? These are just some of the questions that might be running through your head, its ok though this is perfectly normal and is a sign of your motivation. So what is the first step?
In this article we will discuss the basic theory behind goal setting, behaviour versus outcome goals, practical goal setting and provide a framework to turn those goals into action. If you have read enough and can’t wait to get started then feel free to contact us by clicking on the link to book your phone consultation with a coach CLICK HERE.
Goal setting theory
One of the most common motivational tools used by coaches is goal setting (Weinberg, 1994). A goal can be defined simply as what the individual is trying to do (Locke & Latham, 1985) but is in-fact far more complicated. Despite primarily being a motivational tool, goal setting is used for building self-confidence, enhancing technique and managing time and other resources (Locke and Latham, 1985; Minovi, 1998).
The first step “Reflection”
It’s easy to forget your previous years journey through health and fitness, the highs and the lows. All too often we tend to focus on the failures and forget the success. In order to recognise your achievements we need to reflect. So without hesitation grab yourself a pen and piece of paper, separate your page into two boxes. In the first box write down all of the goals that you set this time last year. In the remaining box, split this into two, write down in one box all of the things you struggled with and did not continue with, and in the last box write down all of the things no matter how small they are that you did stick with, this could be something like “I slowed down during eating” or “I spent less time on my phone before bed”. So now I want you to consider that achieving your goals is mostly about altering and maintaining positive behaviours, it’s the small behaviours that most likely went unnoticed that will make the biggest changes long term.
Practical Goal Setting
How do you set a goal then, taking some time on your own or with the help of a coach to build out a set of goals along with an action plan to achieve them will help to build self confidence, enhance technique and manage time. At BASE.TRAINING we believe in creating behaviour based goals instead of outcome based goals, these are often known as task and ego goals. Research suggests that those that generally tend to lean toward task goals are more intrinsically motivated and have a higher chance of succeeding (Locke & Latham, 1985). However we have found that a mixture of the two are a recipe for success.
Behaviour vs Outcome goals
Generally, when someone asks about their fitness goals, most people start with the outcome(s) they want:
- I want to lose 20 pounds.
- I want that thin-skinned, ripped look.
- I want to binge less often.
- I want to deadlift double my bodyweight.
Outcome goals describe how we want things to be at the end of the process. But we can’t stop there. Wanting things isn’t enough. Even if you really, really, really want them. Because: We often can’t control outcomes. Outcomes are affected by environmental things. Like:
- Your job gets crazy busy.
- Your kid gets sick.
- Your mum with dementia needs help.
And they’re influenced by physical things. Like:
- Your hormones are all over the place.
- You have a chronic illness. (Or even just a tough bout with the flu.)
- You’re stressed.
- You’re traveling a lot.
- You’re getting older.
- You’re having problems sleeping.
- You sprained your ankle or your arthritic knee is doing its thing again.
You can’t make your body do what you want it to. (And neither can your personal trainer.)
But you can control what you do.
That’s why behaviour goals are so important: They focus on the things we do have control over. Behaviour goals represent your commitment to practice a particular set of actions or tasks every day, as consistently and regularly as possible.
Here’s some practical examples.
Lose 10 pounds.
Eat till satisfied (instead of stuffed) at each meal.
Lower blood sugar.
Eat fruit for dessert, instead of sweets, at least three times a week.
Squat more weight.
Squat 3 times a week at various intensities.
Sleep 8 hours per night.
Create a calming pre-sleep routine and start it 30 minutes before bedtime.
Have a better relationship with partner.
Have a date night once a week.
Let’s get to it..
We have found that splitting your goal setting down into three areas is a huge help in setting up your behaviour based goals.
Once you have decided upon your goal, think of the skills you will need to attain that goal.
Once you have listed the skills you will need to achieve your goal, for example; taking action in your life. This isn’t exactly actionable so we can break this down into further daily practices. Once you have done this assign one of these skills to a month within the time frame you have decided upon and then you can break this down into daily practices.
At BASE.TRAINING we’ve identified that clarifying your values and priorities (practice #1) and translating those into action steps (practice #2) are the best ways to build the skill of taking action in your lives. Spend two weeks on practice #1. Then two weeks on practice #2.
In simple terms the formula looks like this
Practice daily to build skills.
Build skills to achieve goals.
Now you know some of the theory it’s time to get to it
- Using our Goal setting sheet below. CLICK HERE
- Write down one outcome you want.
- Write down some of the skills you think you’ll need to get that outcome.
- Related to each skill, write down a behaviour or two you can do today that’ll help build those skills.
- Do the practice today, and tomorrow, and so on.
Do these consistently and before you know it your goals will become your reality.
Remember you can always do this with the help of a professional coach at BASE.TRAINING, CLICK HERE to book your free consultation today.
I wish I could tell you that this is the last step to achieving your goals, but, there are just a few more, don’t worry they are easy, the next step is Support
If you’re ridiculously motivated—and relentlessly tenacious—you might be able to figure this stuff out and lone ranger your way toward your goals.
In our experience, though, most people need some amount of coaching and support. And that’s okay. It’s not a sign of weakness or incompetence. In fact, it’s the way most humans do most things. It’s how we learn to read, write, walk, and talk. It’s how we learn to do a job and improve professionally. It’s how we become better parents and partners. It’s how we grow as human beings: with coaching, support, and accountability.
The individualist hero who accomplishes big things all by themselves is a myth.
Would you agree that accountability—regularly checking in with someone—is important? The social commitment helps us stick with what we started. But did you know accountability works best if it happens at regular, expected times? Whether through an app, in a group, or one-on-one, accountability should have a known cadence. For example, our coaching check-ins happen once a month through a meeting with your personal coach.
Interesting fact: In a survey of over 10,000 people carried out by Nutrition coaching company Precision Nutrition, over 80% of respondents ranked accountability as a “very important” part of getting in shape. However, nearly 80% of those folks said they didn’t have a way of keeping themselves accountable.
That’s why we recommend coaching.
Personal Coaching at BASE.TRAINING
Most people don’t want “an expert”. They want a guide, a coach, someone they trust and respect. And most people don’t want someone in their face “coaching” them 24/7. They just want the confidence of knowing someone is there if they need it. A BASE.TRAINING personal coach is a lifelong student. They understand that humans are complex beings with individual needs and goals. Understanding this is integral to the success of a client.
If you would like to know more about a BASE.TRAINING personal coach CLICK HERE
Hopefully this article has allowed you to get started with your fitness challenges for 2019, and even better we look forward to hearing about your success now that you have a framework to turn those goals into actions and those actions into achievements.