The Importance of Goal Setting

While you may understand that goal-setting is important, you may be asking, how do I set effective goals? This might be the hardest part of goal setting. I suggest using the S.M.A.R.T. approach to successful goal-setting.

Get down to the nitty-gritty.   Getting “fit” is not a goal – it is an idea. Fitting into a size six, getting 15 inch biceps or running a marathon in two hours are specific goals. Specific goals force you to think about why you want to get fit and what it is you really desire. Do you want better abs, or do you want a ripped, six-pack? Do you want to be able to play with your kids, or do you want to be able to run around the park for 30 minutes playing soccer with your kids? The more specific you can get with your goals, the more you can measure your success.
Often quoted in business is the term, “what gets measured gets done”. This simply means that your goals need to be quantifiable. For example, a general goal would be to lose weight in four weeks – a measurable goal would be to lose eight pounds in four weeks. A measurable goal allows you to carefully track your progress each week by breaking your goal down, for example creating 4 small victories of losing 2 pounds each week and measuring your progress as you go. When you can create small victories for yourself, you avoid the risk of letting small set-backs turn into larger ones.
Sometimes you have to swing for the home run. If your goal is to increase your strength and you know that you can lift 20 pounds without any real effort, then your goal should be to lift 80 pounds. Creating goals you can achieve is important, but if you don’t push yourself you might not know what you can really accomplish. Remember that our limits are created by our fears, uncertainties and doubts. All of which are created from our thoughts. We have the power to control the F.U.D. (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt). This does not mean to set goals beyond your spectrum of ability – if you never ran a marathon before, your goal should not be to shatter the world record running it. Instead, determine what you feel your best effort is and then set your goal to reach beyond it. Don’t sell yourself short!
Change does not happen overnight. If your goals are set too high, then the chance of reaching them is reduced. Yes, you need to challenge yourself, but keep your goals real. For instance, if losing 10 pounds of body fat in one week is your goal, you have to be realistic about the timeframe and requirements to accomplish your goal. Using that example, in health and fitness there are some scientific realities that we need to share. Number one – If you eat more than you move – you will gain weight – no matter what the food is. Every food has calories. Number two – there are 3500 calories in a pound of fat and the body can lose about 1-2 pounds of fat a week (if your diet is perfect and your calorie deficit allows for it). Therefore, if you set a fat loss goal, don’t expect the fat to “melt” off. Expect that it will take 5-10 weeks for you to lose your body fat, approximately two pounds per week. Set reasonable time limits and accomplishments.
Think short, mid-term and long-term. Set goals you can achieve tomorrow and in three months. Giving yourself a chance to reach short-term goals will help you move more confidently towards the long-term ones. For instance, if in a year you want to participate in a triathlon, create short-term monthly goals on the distances you want to run, swim and bike as you gear up for the event. Giving yourself a time-frame also increases the importance of the goal. If you want to look great for a high-school reunion in five months, chances are you are going to focus on what you need to accomplish each month to be ready for the “big” reveal at the reunion.

About Micheal Clark

Founder & CEO - Fusionetics ( Chief Science Officer - Sharecare Founder -NASM Team Physical Therapist - Phoenix Suns. Dr. Mike Clark is recognized as a leader in human performance. He is the founder of Fusionetics, which is a web-based human performance optimization company that is focused on revolutionizing injury prevention, performance optimization, and recovery enhancement. Dr. Clark is the founder of NASM and the Optimum Performance Training System as well as the Corrective Exercise System. He also serves as the Chief Science Officer for Sharecare (a comprehensive health improvement web platform - created by the Founder of WebMD). Dr. Mike Clark is entering his 14th season as the team physical therapist for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. He has served as a sports medicine professional for 2 Olympic games. He has also served and continues to serve as a sports medicine consultant and specialist for numerous pro teams and his list of athlete-clients includes MVP’s, All-Stars and Champions from the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS and the Olympic games. Dr. Clark is also a noted lecturer and author. He has authored 3 scientific textbooks, over 40 textbook chapters, and multiple peer-reviewed scientific papers in the areas of sports medicine, sports performance, and fitness. Dr. Clark also has written 2 consumer books. Academically, Dr. Clark has helped spearhead the development of several accredited online health science education programs, including a BS program, 2 Master's Degree Programs, and one Doctoral program. Education: DPT: Rocky Mountain University MS - Human Movement Science: €”University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill BS - Physical Therapy (BS): University of Wisconsin - LaCrosse