Goal Setting: the ulitmate tool to obtaining wealth and conquering the universe
Hey you! Yeah you! The one with dashing good looks and a can do attitude. How would you like to make a zillion dollars? Ask that boy/girl/both/Unicorn out? Attempt to take over the world but make the mistake of trying to invade Russia in the beginning of winter. Well have I got a deal for you! For only 3 easy payments of $19.99, I am going to share my patented system for crushing any goal on the planet. What you don’t want to pay me? Fine I guess I will be nice and give it away for free. Keep reading to learn my secrets.
Over the last half a decade of working in the fitness industry, I have heard a wide variety of goals that people have. Whether it was to lose weight, gain weight, run a 5k, tone arms and abs etc. I have always noticed that the goals people tell me are usually not specific, time based, realistic or even their true goals. With me, I have always been more scientific with my approach, usually using a method of thinking akin to the scientific method. Or to put more simply A+B=C. I know that was a lot of nerd speak but bare with me while I explain. In this case C is whatever goal I set and A and B are the variables that lead to that goal or outcome. A lot of times depending on the goal, A can be thought of as Effort and B and can be thought Time. So for example someone trying to lose weight, C would equal weight loss and A and B would equal nutrition and amount of time spent exercising. “But Ethan I don’t care about that I just lose weight.” Yeah? I want a million dollars but unless we have a system in place neither one of us is going to achieve our goal. When setting up our method to achieve our goal we first have to have a goal first. “Duh Ethan”wait hear me out as I stated above, a lot of people don’t actually know how to set a well thought out goal which I will now show you.
For me whenever I am creating a goal I use something called the SMART method. This stands for Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time Based. Specific is what do you want to achieve. This is the step most people make it to but progress no further, i.e the person that has a general weight loss goal. Measureable is where we are able to quantify the goal or have a way of measuring it. So using the weight loss example we change the goal to wanting to lose 20 lbs of fat . Attainable means literally just that, can the goal actually be achieved. I know this sounds redundant but sometimes people need to be brought back down to earth and realize that not every goal is achievable no matter what they do. For example If our person who wants to lose 20 lbs of fat wants to do it in a day, that is not attainable. A way to make that goal attainable is to put a time frame on it but we will get to that shortly. Realistic means can you achieve the goal you have set with the resources you have available right now. For our person to help make their goal realistic they could set the goal of exercising 3 days a week and tracking calories to be in a deficit daily to lose body fat. Time based means that the goal has a time frame to it. For our person this being the final piece of their goal, it might finally look like “I want to lose 20 lbs of body fat in 4 months by being in a daily 500 calorie deficit through calorie counting and exercise 3 days a week following a plan that a personal trainer created that will help me achieve my goal.” And we can use A+B=C again as we have the goal(C) of losing 20lbs of body fat in 4 months, by being in a daily 500 calorie deficit (A) and exercising 3 days a week (B).
Now we have a goal that is SMART this will make it a lot easier to achieve. But Ethan even with this goal what if I still have a hard time achieving it. Easy we revisit our equation A+B=C. So right now A+B is not equaling C or your goal, well according to the basic rules of math that mean that there is not enough A or B to equal C. So with our SMART goal above if our person is at Month 2 and has only lost 5lbs then they are not on pace to reach their goal in time. To reach their goal in time they might need to decrease their calories further (A=Effort) or Increase the numbers of days or time in the gym (B=Time). Another option is maybe this person is going through a rough time in their life and the SMART goal they set originally is no longer Realistic or Attainable in the parameters they have set. The goal is therefore no longer SMART and needs to be modified or changed to a different SMART goal, i.e losing 20lbs of fat in 8 months or focus on maintaining 5lbs fat loss until rough period is over in 2 months.
“But Ethan!!!!! That’s my goal that I just set! It’s ride or die, I ain’t no quitter. I will make it happen no matter what!” You could or you are more likely to fail and/or burn out and not achieve your goal and maybe even set yourself back. Effort is important but a majority of the time a consistent and moderate effort will achieve more than a lot of effort that is sporadic. It is okay to change your goal as priorities change or new challenges arrive, I recommend to try to stick to your original goal as often as you can provided they are SMART, however just know that life can definitely impact and change your goal and when you are first using this method you will go through a learning curve where you will have to adapt your goals to make them work best for you.
We sometimes have a hard time thinking in years rather than months or days, when we have a SMART goal that will take years to achieve that can often be intimidating.
I highly recommend breaking bigger/long term goal down into smaller/shorter term ones. By breaking goals down we make them more manageable and are more likely to succeed. I call this the stepping stone method. An example goal of this could be someone who wants to save 120,000 dollars over 10 years. They might set a weekly goal of saving $250 and this would lead to $1000 a month and $12,000 a year which would lead to them to achieving their goal. With a $250 a week amount they can get used to it and plan their budget it around it. Also if there are times of financial stress, they can save choose to lower the amount they save and then compensate for it after their stressful time is over. This is much easier than someone who only saves in big chunks sporadically. Like if they only save when they get cash gifts but they only get cash gifts 3 times a year of varying amount.
Set your goals using the SMART method, stick to it as much as you can but don’t be afraid to be flexible because of new challenges and if you are not achieving your goals reflect on whether your goals are SMART or if you need to increase the amount of Effort (A) and/or Time (B) to achieve your goal. Always try to break Bigger/ Long term goals into smaller/ short term goals, by doing so you make the bigger goal more manageable and more likely to succeed. If you need help setting up your goal then email me at email@example.com to schedule a free goal setting consultation.