We had an outpouring of emails and comments on Facebook in regards to asking about what topics should we cover on our radio show “The Path to Strength and Health”. We had some really good suggestions, but one of the topics I felt the need to blog on. Mainly because I have been guilty of faltering in this area. Goal, Goals, Goals. Here is the problem people don’t get.. There is more than just setting a goal. It is easy to say ” I want to get stronger” or “I want to lose weight”. There are a couple problems with these goals. They aren’t specific enough. If you have ever taken any type of class on this stuff they break it down to the SMART system. Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time Anchored.
Really quickly here are some examples. I want to fit into a size 6 jeans in the next 12 weeks, NOT I just want to lose weight. Or I want to squat 500lbs By August 31st. Now these two statements are specific, measurable, and time anchored. Now if someone is a size 20 and wants to get into a size 6 is 12 weeks it may not be attainable or realistic. Same for the Squat goal if your current max is 300 and August is next month. So as you can see there are things to think about. But honestly this is the easy part of setting a goal. Pick a specific goal, set a date, and run it by someone that knows if it is realistic or healthy for you and your SMART Goal is set…. So if this is so easy why do so many goals in the world go unfulfilled?? Well it isn’t for lack of trying. It is usually for a lack of knowing how to get there. Im not just talking about fitness goals here. Business goals, financial goals, you name it. I hear people all the time tell me they want to start a business. They have a dream but they always stay at “one day”.
This is where “process goals” really need to be put in place and this is where the problem lies. The process goals are the steps that need to take place in order for the OUTCOME GOALS AKA the SMART Goals to come to fruition. Process goals can be set daily, weekly, or monthly depending on what process is set. The process goals should be thought of as the road map to success or the winning recipe. It should be a checklist. If the checklist is complete the outcome should be good. This is why January and February are slammed at the Big Box Gyms and slow down in April. Jane wants to lose weight so she buys the cute gym out fit, gym membership with towel service and is off to jump on the treadmill with her favorite novel to do cardio. After about 1 week she is no lighter and after a month she may have lost a few pounds but at the end of the day she realizes that this is too frustrating and decides to just stop going and say that she has tried everything and exercise doesn’t work for her.
Lets look at the weight loss goals and some basic process goals to have this happen, assuming that the SMART Goal was set correctly. Now the process goal will be different for different people, even if they have the same outcome goal. Here is a general example of what a daily process goals look like for weight loss.
- Kept a Diet Journal throughout today in real time (not at night trying to remember what I ate today)
- Bring Diet Journal in to Trainer or someone else that will hold you accountable.
- Got 7-8 hours of sleep
- Avoided junk Food all day
- Ate breakfast, lunch, and Dinner of only the foods I was supposed to eat today.
- Did my prescribed daily workout today
Now this list could be a more or less detailed depending on the person and their specific challenges. But the point is this. If the person with this goal can do down this list and say that they accomplished each of these daily goals then that is Awesome. Focusing on the process is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing. Focusing on the scale is probably the worst thing you can do. Same thing goes for trying to become stronger as well. If your goal is to have a big bench press or squat then you should be following a specific program and stick to it instead of having exercise ADD and freaking out and trying to max out every week to see if you are getting stronger. In my experience when the someone becomes obsessed with the outcome, it usually back fires. Focusing on the process list gives an objective approach. If you only successfully completed 3 of the 5 process goals you know exactly why you are not achieving your goals. As Dan John says, the goal, is the goal, is the goal, and the process is the path.
Currently I am following the Dan John 40 Day program for my Goal of completing the Beast Tamer Challenge by my 37th Birthday. Now I don’t plan on hitting it in 40 days but the 40 day program is the first phase of my training. I do a specific workout nearly daily for 40 days. Simple. Just do it. At the end of 40 days If I stay consistent my guess is I will be much stronger than I was at Day 1. At the end of day 40 I will then adjust the programming and follow from there. The goal is the goal is the goal. And each workout is based on the goal. I can’t worry about my 6pack or the mirror right now or try and focus on a million other things.
The same goes for other goals. For years I wanted to start my own gym. I dreamed and dreamed and dreamed and was always frustrated and pissed off because I never seemed to be able to get it all together. Well my process was to get lots of experience. I plan on writing a blog on this or maybe an entire book….