Goal setting is a critical part of enhancing your fitness and/or performance. It can be anything from working towards getting a PR in your next road race, losing inches on your waist, or simply feeling better. Planning out the finer details of your personal goals is essential. If you don’t map out your route, chances are you won’t get to the finish line.
If you are having a tough time doing what you set out to accomplish, below could be some reasons why and how to work through them:
Your goal is too far-fetched
Sure we’d all love a six pack of abs for breakfast, but if you are not prepared to do what is necessary to get those ripples then the dream won’t come true. Be honest and ask yourself “Is this goal realistic for me?”. Consider your life (work, social circles, time, skills) and what is possible. Base your goals around what you can control in your world. Otherwise you risk setting yourself up for failure.
No plans on how to “get there”
If I want to increase my running speed but have no plans on how I’m going to do it except for “run more”, chances are I won’t be successful. You have to consider what is needed in order to hit your goal. For example, if your goal is weight loss, assess what areas in your life may need adjusting such as your diet, activity level, sleep, or social life and focus on enhancing that area to support your goal.
Not setting action plans
Do you ever feel like you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but not the steps that will get you there? Setting small action plans will help to guide you in achieving your overall goal. Use the SMART approach to fine tune your action plans:
Specific: When will you start this goal, what will you focus on?
Measurable: How often, how much, what will you track and how?
Action-Oriented: Focus on a behaviour that you can change
Realistic: Set small goals that are achievable. Ask yourself if you can see yourself completing this goal
Time-Frame: What is the timeline you are giving yourself?
Here is an example using the SMART technique. If your goal is to lose weight and you’d like to work on increasing your vegetable intake, your action plan might look like this: Starting this week I will increase my vegetable intake to 4 servings daily split between lunch and supper 5 days per week. One of those servings will be a dark green. I will do this for the next 4 weeks and reassess.
Not planning for road blocks
It is important to be prepared for anything that gets thrown your way. Going about your day expecting nothing to get in the way of your set plan is not realistic. If you know your schedule is chaotic, prepare food at the beginning of the week to ensure you have healthy meals on hand. If you are busy during your usual workout time, plan ahead and exercise at another time in the day. If you are away for work or holidays, map out the area you will be staying in for healthy food options and physical activity opportunities.
Too much on your plate
When a goal is set, we tend to pool all our efforts at the beginning and give 110%. Don’t overdo it by changing everything about your lifestyle. Allow yourself a reasonable amount of flexibility. Plan when you might treat yourself during the week. This will allow you to safely indulge and won’t throw you completely off track.
Not thinking long term
In order to make a goal successful you must ask yourself; is this something I can see myself achieving? Can I maintain this for the next month, 6 months, whole year? If the answer is no, you might need to go back and assess what is doable for you.
A Sports Dietitian is skilled in guiding you through setting realistic goals and appropriate action plans as they relate to your eating and fitness goals.
Connect with a Sports Dietitian today!
Emilie Trottier, BASc, RD, Sports Dietitian
Sports Dietitian with Evolved Sport and Nutrition
Complete Lifestyle Management