We are quickly approaching the end of the year which is traditionally a time where many start to imagine what they'd like to accomplish in the upcoming year. Whether your goal is health, fitness, business or personal related it's very healthy and beneficial to have something to shoot for with an end goal in sight. However, being able to carefully pinpoint exactly what you would like to accomplish and whether or not that is realistic within a certain time frame is what we all need to focus on if we don't want to become another statistic of failed new years resolutions. By the way, what may seem like an unrealistic goal in the short-term usually makes for a good goal to strive for in the long-term so don't just throw an idea away because it may be too hard to accomplish under a limited amount of time, but rather keep that goal as an over-arching premise on which you set realistic short-term goals to get you there. Which leads us to coming up with a plan that will enable you to succeed by creating highly attainable mini-goals which allow you to continue to progress towards your main goal. Mini-goals also generate a sort of positive momentum in that by seeing positive results in the short-term you will gain confidence in your plan which will increase your commitment to the long term goal and increase your chances of success. I'll give you an example of how I've tackled my goal from this year which was to get down to 10% bodyfat after a few years of dirty bulking for mass gains.
1. Identify Your Goal - Get to 10% bodyfat by the summer (5 months). I was 243 lbs in January last year so I figured I would need to get down to 215 lbs by June and I would hit 10% BF...
2. Come up with mini-goals to track progress - I knew I would need to lose at least 28 pounds by June which meant I needed to lose at least 5.5 lbs/month or 1.3 lbs/week. This is a healthy amount of weight to lose given the time frame and would also allow me to minimize any lean mass loss in the process.
3. Plan - Figure out my maintenance calories by getting a ballpark figure from many calori/macro calculators available (I used iifym.com) and subtracting 10-15% for weight loss. I think decided on a comfortable macronutrient split (40% Protein/40% Carb/20% Fat) that I could stick with on a daily basis by tracking on the MyFitnessPal app.
4. Commit to the plan and evaluate - I started eating what I needed to in order to stay within my daily macro/calorie requirements by tracking everything I ate and weighing myself once a week.
5. Re-evaluate/Be Flexible - You will know that you need to re-evaluate your plan if you're either not hitting your mini-goals any longer or if on a bigger picture basis you may need to re-evaluate your goal based on your results up until this point. For me, I was on track in terms of weight loss, however, I was quickly starting to realize a few months into my plan that my goal weight of 215lbs was not going to get me to 10% bodyfat. Like many people, I underestimated how much weight I actually needed to lose. So I re-evaluated my goal based on the progress I made thus far by giving myself a few more months to drop below 215 and try for 200 lbs. I ultimately hit the 200 lbs mark three months later (August) than what my original thought process back in January had me believing.
Everyone is different and while fat loss may not be a goal of yours for this upcoming year, this is my general five step template on how I personally approach goal setting and planning. Without a real plan in place you're only kidding yourself into believing you can achieve a set goal, especially something which will take a good chunk of your year to accomplish if you look at it realistically. However, being flexible and honest with yourself is just as important because this mindset allows you to be your own critic and pinpoint any adjustments which need to be made.
If you're like me and want more than just an ordinary workout that just burns calories then it's time to start training and this is what I offer to my members. Training means you are working towards a bigger goal and not just going through the motions on a daily basis just to say you went to the gym and broke a sweat. Training , just like goal setting, means that you have a distinct plan in place that enables you to achieve your goals. Training is not for the ordinary, but is for those that want more out of the hard work, energy and most importantly time that they're willing to commit to in order to achieve real results. This is what I'm offering to my members here and my hope is that more and more people view the precious time they commit to their bodies as a time of training. I know there are many who are confused by all of the programs and workouts that are offered, but this is a place that I want my members to come back to time and again for reliable and high quality programming which gets them the results they desire.