When I was a kid, my parents taught me that if I said I was going to do something, I better do it and I better do it right – whatever I do I should do it with all my heart. It’s important to be a person of your word, a person who keeps their promises. Personal integrity in everything you do will earn you respect and take you far in life. And when it comes to personal health and fitness, it also gets results.
As a goal oriented person, I like the idea of setting new goals every year. Some goals are just reinstatements of previous goals, but getting specific about what I want to accomplish and creating a plan that will help me do just that is empowering to me. Even when I feel like I’m not making much progress, I have the reassurance that I am working toward a goal I set; I am fulfilling a promise I made to myself.
You’ve probably heard of setting SMART goals. Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Reason (the why). Timing. If you allow these five metrics to guide you then you will be setting goals that can be reached.
Why? Because if you don’t get specific and if you can’t measure your progress then you’re not likely to accomplish what you intended. If you have vague health and fitness goals, you probably won’t see the transformation you’re looking for this year.
Knowing what goals are attainable
Here are some vague goals I encourage you to avoid:
- Lose weight
- Exercise regularly
- Eat more nutritious foods
- Lift weights
Goals like this are hard to meet because they say nothing about HOW you’re going to accomplish them, WHAT you expect to see as a result of it, and WHEN you plan to see those results.
Here are some examples of specific goals:
- Walk for 30 minutes every day during your lunch break
- Stop purchasing items from the vending machine
- Eat dessert and other sweet treats only once a week
- Eat a salad with lean meat for lunch five days a week instead of sandwiches
- Do 25 pushups every morning before going to work
- Lift 200lbs on the bench press by December
- Run a 5K in under 24 minutes by September
- Lose 20 lbs by June
Do you see the difference? Goals that can be appropriately measured give you something specific to focus on. You can develop an entire plan around how you’re going to accomplish that goal and that will help keep you on track.
My Goals for 2017
I’ve given it some thought and I have a few specific goals for 2017. None of them are very big but all of them will help me reach my potential and accomplish even bigger dreams and aspirations in the future. They’re stepping stones.
1. Read for 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
I want to grow my knowledge of anatomy and physiology, nutrition, biomechanics. The list goes on. The vastness of the information I have yet to absorb is overwhelming. I cannot commit to mastering these topics in a year, but I can commit to reading small amounts every day to help improve my understanding and gain more knowledge. I would probably fail at this goal if I tried to do it every day of the week. Committing to five days a week makes it attainable.
2. Write for 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
My heart goes into this blog week after week. I want it to be a valuable source of information and motivation, so I must commit to writing valuable content. That, however, takes a lot of time and sometimes I feel like I don’t have that kind of time to give. But I can commit to just 15 minutes. Small, daily progress is better than no progress and will help lessen the stress of creating new content on a regular basis. I already know that there will be days that I do not write a word, but I can commit to five days a week.
3. Become an expert in basic compound movements.
I am not a CrossFit trainer, yoga instructor, or have any other specialty. I am interested in it all but I cannot master it all. Trying to will not give me success. Instead of trying to master everything, I am committing to mastering a few basic compound movements, such as the squat, pushup, pullup, deadlift, and lunge. These may seem like exercises that everyone can do but the truth is that most people do it with the wrong form, and when you learn to do it right the benefits are astronomical. I am going to train myself and get picky about my own form until I’ve mastered each of these. I will do this by recording and analyzing my own workouts. I am especially looking forward to mastering the pullup, which right now I cannot do (weak, I know).
Notice that I did not set any weightloss goals. With having another baby in just a couple weeks, that probably would have been a goal you’d expect to see from me. But I am less interested in my weight than I am in my performance and total body composition. Losing weight will be a byproduct of my other goals, and the goals I have set will prepare me to go even further in 2018.
Oh, I have other goals too, like running a 5K in April and a half marathon in September, but these are not the goals that will define my year. It’s still important to me that I complete these runs to the best of my ability, but I do not feel that setting time goals is appropriate right now.
I am developing a training plan that will help me meet all my fitness goals while balancing three small children and the rest of life. I’m excited and plan to share the specifics of my plan and my progress with all of you every month.
Setting the Tone for 2017
When it comes to long term success, consistency is what matters the most. As you think about what you want to get out of 2017, remember that it’s important to set goals you can stick with. Your level of commitment to those goals is completely up to you, and so is your success or failure. Let this year be the year that you set small, attainable goals and stick with them.
What do you plan to accomplish in 2017?
Leave a comment here or on the Facebook page to let me know your goals. We can help to hold each other accountable as this year comes to pass.