In a previous post I spoke about why goals are important to you as a fitness professional and how they can help you grow your influence, income and impact your life in a positive way. Today we are going to get a bit more practical and look at how you can set goals for yourself and your clients, and how you can make sure you achieve them.
1. Get SMART
If you have done any sort of level 2 or 3 fitness qualification then you know all about SMART goals. This stands for:
S - specific
M - measurable
A - achievable
R - realisitc
T - time bound
Now whilst I think that this is a pretty good framework to set a goal, I feel the two most important steps are M and T. A goal must be measurable for you to know whether you are progressing towards it and it must be time bound to know if you have ever achieved it. Without some time constraint, you will feel no sense of urgency and will in turn be less likely to commit to the goal. I also like to add a reason as to why I want to accomplish said goal. This gives me something to dial in to when I am losing motivation. For example, a current goal of mine is to purchase my second buy to let property by the end of 2020. I want to do this because the income it will generate will allow me to work fewer hours at my day job and focus on growing GFT.
If you want to practice goal setting as you read along with this post, go grab a piece of paper and write down some big dreams that you want to achieve. They can be personal, fitness, financial, whatever. Now turn those into SMART goals, focusing on phrasing them in a way you can measure. Break the big goal down into smaller steps that you can easily measure along the way. Taking my example, I will know I have achieved my goal when the keys to another property are in my hand. I can measure my success along the way with smaller steps like booking viewings, putting in an offer, having an offer accepted, setting an exchange date and then finally completing.
2. Dream big
As humans we tend to overestimate what we can do in the short term but underestimate what we can achieve in the long term. We'd never set our clients a fat loss goal of 2 stone in a month and then give them the rest of the year to lose a further 2 stone! Make sure that your short term weekly or monthly goals are achievable, but go crazy with the big goals. You know you're in the right area if it feels a little bit scary writing it down or even thinking it could be possible!
3. Let people know about your goals
It is terrifying at first to make yourself vulnerable and tell someone about what you want to achieve. You may be met with doubters, people telling you your goals are too big or it sounds a bit risky. But once your goal is out there in the world, you feel like you have to achieve it in fear of looking a little silly. Even if you only tell your partner or a close friend, having someone to help you feel accountable can help you smash those goals.
4. Review your goals regularly
Linked back to the second point, we underestimate what we can achieve in the long run. You may get 6-8 weeks down the line and be way ahead of where you thought you would be with your goal. You have two options; bring the deadline close or make the goal bigger. Instead of aiming for a 10kg increase to your squat PB by the deadline, aim for 15kg instead. Without review and adjustment you may get complacent, accept you are going to hit the goal and just coast along, when in reality you could be achieving way more.
Conversely, if you are behind where you wanted to be, see what is stopping you, what distractions you are facing and whether you need to make any changes. Put a date in the diary every week or month and review your progress. Make this a non-negotiable if you are serious about hitting those goals.
5. Don't be afraid to change course
In your reviews you may find that a goal you set a few weeks or months ago simply doesn't serve you any more. I think this has happened for many of us in 2020, with the pandemic changing the landscape of our lives, work and finances pretty drastically. If a goal doesn't serve you, remove it. I had set a goal to take up running regularly way more times than I care to admit before I realised that just isn't something that's a priority to me. There are other forms of cardio I enjoy a lot more than running and running regularly won't make me a happier or healthier human being. So this goal went in the bin and is never going to come out again.
Maybe at the beginning of the 2020 you set yourself all sorts of strength goals, then lockdown happened and you went 4.5 months without lifting heavy and now you are three steps backward from where you started in January. That's ok. Your priorities may have changed over lockdown and your 100kg deadlift may seem less important. Perhaps now you want to focus on increasing your heart and lung health instead. Change course. Adapt the goal to how you are feeling.
So there are my 5 tips for setting really clear, precise and measurable goals. If you want some more tips on goal setting then here are a few resources: