Six goal setting tips towards a fitter, healthier life
By Laurie O’Garro of Get That Goal
Forward by Lauretta
I first envisaged Full Figured Fitness over 20 years ago and used it as the case study to pass my Exercise to Music exam. I always wanted to actively develop Full Figured Fitness. I had found myself stuck on a treadmill and could neither make decisions or fully commit to my needs and goals. I booked a 1-2-1 with Laurie O’Garro utilising her life coaching and goal getting skills. During our powerful session I was able to pinpoint the exact actions needed to take my ideas forward. I remember just wanting to run home (OK walk quickly) and just get going. I invited Laurie to tell us all about Get That Goal and how to utilise goal setting in our health and fitness journeys.
As a goal-setter of nearly nine years, I can attest to the power of approaching a goal in a methodical and consistent way. It’s how I passed my driving test after twenty-four years of stop/start lessons and passing my driving theory, only to let the two-year time limit lapse and it’s how I started running half marathons, after years of believing I didn’t have the stamina to run thirteen miles non-stop. I’ve achieved other goals in the years since 2008 and found that there are some key habits that were integral to accomplishing my goals. In this blog, I set out 6 goal-setting tips that will really help you in your fitness and weight-loss journey.
1. Accept that no man is an island
If you’ve spent years trying to lose weight and establish an exercise routine on your own, then maybe it’s time to accept that no man or woman is an island. Why should you expect to do it all yourself? Take some time out to review your progress. How long have you been going it alone, endeavouring to do it yourself? There’s so much support out there, both face to face and virtual. Maybe it’s time to hire a personal fitness coach. It’s all very well joining a gym, but will you – realistically – workout three times a week?
Some of us work better when we diarise workout sessions. Perversely, it’s easier to renege on an appointment we make with ourselves than to cancel on a professional, especially if you have paid for the session whether you turn up or not. The same applies if you hire a nutritionist or dietician. Experts in the fields of nutrition and fitness can guide you through the process of establishing and embedding new habits
2.Uncover what’s been stopping you from achieving your health goals
My goal-getting mantra is: awareness is key. Unless you are able to be really honest about how you got where you are, then you are destined to continue in the same vain. Getting real about your circumstances, as painful as it might well be, is essential.
If you find yourself at a point in your life where your weight has steadily increased over the years, then it’s time to gently explore when it all started. Again, you might need to engage the services of a counsellor/therapist who will be able to help you uncover habitual behaviours that have, for years, remained below the radar. Alternatively, you can commit to setting aside time to write about the experiences that led to weight gain. When we write things down, we are able to look at our lives and our actions with fresh eyes, identify patterns, and see how other people in our lives may have contributed to our view of ourselves.
3. Write down your goal
You’ve got enough going on in your head without filling it up with dreams and aspirations that require careful planning and execution, and on which your long term happiness and well-being depends. Take your goals out of your head and put them onto paper, preferably a note book – the more stylish, glossy and inspiring the better, if that makes you happy. It’s important to see your goals in front of you.
When you write down your goals, you have something to look at: just pick up your note book, and there they are, in black and white. And if you go all out and turn each goal into a poster and stick them on the wall in a prominent place, even better. The mind is a wonderful thing, and when we give ourselves a visual reminder, we start to notice opportunities that will help us to progress our goals: people who can help us will appear.
4. Enlist an accountability buddy
Accountability is an important aspect of goal-setting when you’re starting out. If you’ve taken the time to write down your goals, great, but how do you make sure you take the action necessary to achieve them? An accountability buddy will support you in staying on track. If you’re like me, you’ll know the feeling you get when you make a commitment to someone to be somewhere or do something at an agreed time. You don’t want to disappoint. As I have already said, we can be more committed to someone else than we are to ourselves. But if it works, it works. Here are some of the benefits of having an accountability buddy:
- They’re committed to supporting you
- They’re a helpful sounding board
- They encourage you when you start to flag
- They help you see blind spots that may exist
- If they’re friends or family they may set goals with you
- They can share their knowledge, experience or expertise for free
- They reassure you when you feel you’re all alone
The most important prerequisites of an accountability buddy is that they are committed to the relationship and they support you unconditionally. You want someone who will be available to talk to and who is really rooting for you.
5. Work with who you are
Too often when we set out on our goal-getting journey, we compare ourselves to others who have successfully trodden the path before us. Seeking out role models, whether real or virtual, is an important part of the process. The difficulty arises, however, when we look at them and think their road to success was smoother than ours because they were in some way better than we are: more organised, possessed of more will power, more committed.
I’ve recently learned to appreciate the value of working with my personality. For example, I procrastinate; what takes someone a matter of weeks to do will take me months or even a year, from inception to execution. Also, I tend not to rise early unless I have to. Now I could beat myself up for taking an age to get around to doing things, or stubbornly refusing to seize the day and squeeze every ounce of productivity out of it, but that’s not going to move me closer to my stated goal. So instead, I reframe my situation, accepting myself exactly where I am and thinking creatively about how I can make my goals fit around my personal foibles. I am convinced you’re much more likely to succeed in your goal once you stop criticising yourself and start embracing yourself, quirks and all.
6. Celebrate even the (seemingly) small successes
It’s very easy to compare our progress to others, and if we haven’t lost 10lbs in a week, then we feel inadequate. That steady 1lb loss can be easily overlooked, or denigrated as insignificant, but it’s not. If you lost a pound a week, every week, for a year, you’ll have notched up nearly four stone. The saying that the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step is certainly very apt in the case of weight loss. And getting fit. The first time I ran on a treadmill in 1991, I was exhausted after two minutes. But I persevered, and eventually, at my peak, I was running for an hour at a time. By 2008, I was running for nearly three hours non-stop.
Don’t overlook the small achievements: they are necessary stepping stones to something much bigger.
I am convinced that goal-setting your well-being journey is the only way you will realise your health aspirations. The feeling you get at the end of the year when you look back on what you’ve achieved is a feeling that is hard to beat.
If you’d like to read more about goal setting and goal getting, you can visit my website at: www.getthatgoal.com