We’ve all heard and been told, to set goals for ourselves. And, although that sounds obvious and great, the reality is, setting goals doesn’t mean a thing and doesn’t change a thing for most people. If you don’t believe me just go to any corporate chain gym the day after New Years and visit that same gym three months later. Setting the goal to get in shape, didn’t mean or change anything for most of the people at the gym the day after New Years.
I’m sure everyone has the best of intentions when they set their goals, but the problem usually isn’t in setting their goals. It’s what comes after setting their goals that make the biggest difference. It’s the mindset and the techniques you use that determine if you reach your goal or not. Below, I’ll cover some mindsets and techniques you can use to reach your goals and unlock your true potential through goal setting in the process.
Let’s get started!
Why Set Goals
I’m sure you’ve heard the common benefits of setting goals.
Benefits like, “Goals give you focused.”
“Goals give you direction.”
“Goals give you motivation.”
“Goals hold you accountable.”
But, there is another benefit to setting goals that you might’ve not heard about and is more powerful than the common everyday benefits. That is the power goal setting has on the subconscious mind. In a nutshell, the subconscious mind is what your brain runs on automatically or without needing to consciously think about. It runs automatically in the background influencing you throughout the day.
Your mind wants to achieve and carry out what has been ingrained into your subconscious minds. This can be things like your daily habits, the self-image you have of yourself, the way you view the world, the level of success you accomplish, the type of person you date and much more.
What makes up your subconscious mind can come from your life experiences, the automatically triggered feelings, and emotions that you experience in a new situation. And ultimately, what you deeply feel and believe about yourself.
The good thing is one of the ways you can reprogram and improve your subconscious mind is through setting goals. When you set goals, review them and take action toward them regularly, your goals start to settle into your subconscious mind. Naturally your brain is a “goal-seeking organism” and whatever goal you give to your subconscious mind, it will want to achieve it. Keep in mind this process doesn’t happen overnight, so consistency is key.
Know How Much And By When
The quality of the goal is only as good as its description. Vague goals just don’t get the job done. For example, if your goal is to lose 20 pounds, it is harder to keep yourself accountable and focused on your goal versus, if your goal is to lose 20 pounds of body fat and weigh 180 pounds within 3 months on May 31st at 7:00am. The second goal, is much more descriptive, letting you know how much of what you want to lose (fat not muscle) and exactly by when do you want to accomplish your goal. Anyone can read that goal and know exactly what you want to accomplish and by when you want to accomplish it.
With goal setting, you want to be as specific as possible with all aspects of your goals. It will keep you better focused and aiming for exactly what you want as you review your goals. It will also keep you focused on reaching your goal as your near the date you set to accomplish your goal by.
You Need Goals That Stretch You
It’s common for people to set small, safe goals they know they can achieve within their set timeline. Although this is better than not setting any goals at all, it often leads to a snail pace when making the progress they truly want and have the potential of making. When you set your goals, you should set a “Breakthrough Goal” that pushes you to take a quantum leap in your progress and really makes an impact in your athletic journey and even your life as a whole.
Some examples of breakthrough goals can be losing 60 pounds or more, taking up Muay Thai and developing your skills enough to train and fight in Thai Land, earning your black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and training in Brazil, qualifying for the CrossFit Games, qualifying for the Spartan Race World Championships, making the cut of a team you want to play for, qualifying for the Olympics or winning another major tournament championship.
Whichever “Breakthrough Goal” you set, it needs to be one that will push you out of your comfort zone to achieve it and ultimately help you evolve not only as an athlete but as a person too.
Chunk It down
Taking on any big goal can seem overwhelming at first and sometimes they can seem so overwhelming that you end up doing nothing. This is where chunking large goals down into small manageable goals or steps can help to keep you from feeling overwhelmed. For example, a goal to lose 60 pounds can be broken down into losing 10 pounds at a time and focusing on what needs to be completed each week versus taking on the whole 60 pounds at one. Some of the tasks might be broken down into doing some research on nutrition and training or finding a personal trainer and/or nutritionist. You might need to get a gym membership and schedule dedicated time to train and prep you meals constantly.
Whichever big goals you plan for yourself, realizing some of your goals will only be completed after completing several smaller steps and will need a longer timeframe to achieve.
Read Your Goals 3 Times Daily
Reading your goals 3 times a day is something I learned in “The Success Principles” by Jack Canfield and goes back to the subconscious mind. Reading your goals three times a day starts to imprint your goals in your subconscious mind and in the process it keeps you automatically wanting to work toward your goals. I personally recommend reading your goals when you get up in the morning, at noon and again at bedtime. This process will naturally keep you thinking about your goals, working to reach them and in the process imprint them into your subconscious mind, so you automatically want to work to achieve them.
Carry Your Goals with You
I’ve done this in a variety of different ways, but no matter the approach, carrying my goals with me has been extremely helpful in helping me reach my goals more effectively. Whether I’m carrying my daily meal/nutrition goals with a list of what I need to eat and the time I need to eat, my training goals for the day, business tasks for the day and week or my goals for the quarter, having my goals with me keeps me focused on accomplishing them.
Depending on the way you prefer to use this technique, it can be used as a checklist, daily plan or reminder of longer-term goals. For me, I keep an old school binder with my long-term goals broken down into what I want to accomplish during the current quarter I’m in, or within the next three months. These goals consist of my goals for different areas of my life, which include my health goals, business goals, education goals and more.
Within my binder, I also keep and update my nutrition and training goals for each week. With some prep on the weekend, I don’t need to think about my nutrition and training during the week, only execute the plan. This approach actually saves me time during the week. At the end of the week, I lay out my nutrition and training goals again for the following week and prep for the week ahead.
Outside of my binder, I also keep 3X5 cards that I write the long-term goals I want to accomplish within a year on and the goals I want to accomplish within the next three months too. I use these cards to read my goals in the morning, on my lunch break and before I go to bed.
Keep in mind this is just one example of how you can carry your goals with you. There are many different ways you can carry your goals with you and more modern methods, like in your smartphone. Regardless of your chosen method, the key is to keep your goals with you and on your mind.
Track Your Progress
Setting goals doesn’t do you much good unless you’re taking action and making progress toward reaching those goals. This is where tracking and reviewing your progress comes in. Whether it’s hitting your daily nutrition goals, completing training sessions or doing the needed research and making the needed calls, having a method to look back and evaluate your progress will not only show how far you’ve come but also allow you to evaluate areas that may need improving.
Taking your big goals and breaking them down into yearly goals, quarterly goals, monthly goals, weekly goals and even daily goals makes your goals much more manageable and is easier to see if you’re doing the things you need to do to reach them.
Likewise, evaluated one day at a time, one week at a time or ever one month at a time makes it much easier to identify what is working and what isn’t working versus looking at a whole year or half a year at once. Evaluating your progress on a daily, weekly and even monthly level will allow you to make small needed changes early versus waiting for a half year or full year to see you need big changes and are losing a lot more time in the process.
My goal here is to shine some light on the value of setting goals for yourself and hopefully, if you’re not currently setting goals, get you to start setting some goals you want to accomplish and make it a little bit easier for you to accomplish them! Even if you’re new to setting goals, I encourage you to try setting at least one goals you wanted to accomplish for some time and start taking action today to reach that goal. You’ll be happy you did.
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