“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it.” –Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
I am a strong proponent of setting goals and here are some of the reasons why they are extremely valuable, not just for health and fitness, but life in general.
- Goals give you something to strive for. They fuel ambition, drive and determination. When you set your mind to something, it creates an unrelenting force and desire to achieve it, as well as positive side effects like respect, pride and honor.
- Without a clear roadmap, your talent and abilities are useless. Goals provide a channel to direct your energy and focus. When you set objectives, you straighten, organize and clarify your purpose in life, and help eliminate waste, laziness and inefficiency.
- Having a clear purpose builds confidence and self-assurance. Doubt, uncertainty and hesitation are reduced because you know where you’re going and why it’s important. Moreover, learning from past mistakes will make you a wiser and stronger person.
- The secret to happiness in life is not achievement, award or recognition, but making progress on things you’re passionate about. The impact of your effort and commitment, no matter how big or small, will generate internal satisfaction and fulfillment. Furthermore, intrinsic motivation is directly correlated with happiness. Quite simply, goals give you purpose and reason to live.
- It doesn’t matter whether you succeed or fail, doing something new, challenging and meaningful creates positive memories that will last a lifetime. The journey itself generates satisfaction and that is more powerful than any external stimulus. Plus, the diversity and depth of your experiences will produce continuous positive, internal feelings, as well as external social capital when you share those memories with others.
“Know what you want to do, hold the thought firmly, and do every day what should be done, and every sunset will see you that much nearer to your goal.” — Elbert Hubbard
The hardest part like anything else in life is starting. The beginning is where you encounter the most hurdles, biggest obstacles and serious self-doubt, but once you break through the resistance, positive momentum will keep the flame burning.
"When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." - Paulo Coelho
Think of something you want to do, improve on or experience. Potential categories are health and fitness, financial, social, personal development, family, relationship, community, career, character, etc. It doesn’t matter if its short term, long term, big or small. The best place to start is to write down a list of things that are important to you and break them down into main goals and sub-goals.
“Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.” — Fitzhugh Dodson
Make your goals S.M.A.R.T!
Specific: Clearly defined.
Measurable: Criteria to monitor progress toward goal attainment.
Attainable: Achievable, yet challenging.
Realistic: Within available resources, knowledge and time.
Time bound: Linked to a clear timeframe that creates a sense of urgency.
Here is an example of a SMART goal that I made in May after registering for an athletic competition.
"I will complete my first 70.3 IRONMAN race in Old Orchard Beach, Maine on August 26, 2017 with a finish time of 5:30 or better by weightlifting 2x, swimming 2x, cycling 3x and running 3x per week over the next three months, in accordance with the workout intensity and volume in my training plan."
“The rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon, but only to hold a man’s foot long enough to enable him to put the other somewhat higher.” — Thomas Henry Huxley
Commitment: Give maximum time, effort and dedication.
- Develop an action plan, timeline and schedule.
Discipline: Take ownership, responsibility and control.
- Write goals down; share with family, friends and mentors.
Belief: Have faith and trust in the purpose, process and your abilities.
- Remember the desired outcome and benefits; celebrate small wins.
Self-assessment: Continuously evaluate your progress and adjust if necessary.
- Keep a journal; establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
“Anyone can be remarkable, if they have something truly remarkable to do. Set remarkable goals for yourself and get to work on achieving them. Then, watch in amazement as you become remarkable.” — Marelisa Fábrega
It’s never too late to set new goals and you’re never too old to aspire new dreams or reach new heights. The power of the mind and passion of the heart are stronger and more enduring than any physical ability or single moment in life because a positive attitude, shared with meaningful goals and limitless determination, is a life that knows no failure.