- John Stone Fitness - http://www.johnstonefitness.com -

The importance of setting goals.

WIthout a target what are you working towards?

It’s hard to believe that 2011 is almost behind us. This year really seemed to fly by in a flash! As we close out the year, now is the time to start thinking about your fitness goals for 2012 (and beyond).

Without a target you can't aim.

Without a target you can't aim.

A lot of what I’m about to write may be old news to many of you, but it needs to be repeated for those who don’t know. When I ask people who email me for advice what their goals are, they often say things like, “I want to get in better shape!” While that’s a decent enough thing to strive for, that is not what I’d consider a clearly defined goal.

Without clearly defined goals you’ve already got one big strike against you. When you set goals you’re giving yourself firm targets; without those targets you’re not going to have nearly the sense of progress and accomplishment that you would with them.

There are essentially two types of goals: short-term goals and long-term goals. A short term goal might be something like, “I am going to diet down to 7% body fat.” A long-term goal could be, “I am going to double my squat.” It helps to set short-term “mini” goals as you work towards your long-term goals. So, for example, if your long-term goal is to squat 400 pounds by the end of 2012 and you’re currently squatting 200 pounds, give yourself something smaller to work towards in the short-term (“I’ll be squatting 250 by the end of March.”)

Finally, write your goals down. Paper is fine, but getting your goals out there publicly is even better. Start a journal on the JSF Forums and tell the world what you’re going to do. Committing to your goals publicly is a very powerful motivator–and you’ll also have the support of the other members during those times when you could use a boost from someone who can relate to what you’re going through.

Don’t wake up on January 1st and think, “OK, it’s the new year. Tomorrow I guess I’m going to start losing some weight.” You’ll have a much better chance of success if you start planning right now. In addition to setting goals, there are many other things you can start doing in the weeks leading up to your fat loss program (I discussed some of those things a couple of days ago in my November 30, 2011 blog.)

I never wish people luck who are working towards fitness goals because luck has absolutely nothing to do with it. You are responsible for your results (or lack thereof), so instead of a well-intentioned–but ultimately meaningless–expression like “Good luck!”, I simply say this: “Work hard and you will reach your goals.”