Whether you want to have 20-inch arms, deadlift 605 pounds, or get in shape, we all have goals.
If you don't have any goals, I'd recommend creating at least 2 SMART goals for 2018 because these tips will help you accomplish them.
Related - Ultimate Guide to Setting Goals
What's a SMART goal?
- Specific - "Losing weight" isn't specific enough; "losing 20 pounds" is.
- Measurable - Have a way to tell if you are progressing closer to your goal.
- Achievable - Reach for the stars, but be reasonable.
- Results-Based - "I want to see 199 pounds on the scale" is results based; you know when you reach the goal.
- Time-Bound - A goal without a deadline is just a dream.
The reason you should use the SMART criteria is because it forces you to really think about what you want. If you know someone who is a mental masturbator, meaning they think about everything instead of doing it, you know they don't accomplish much.
Use the SMART criteria when creating your goals and follow through with the rest of these tips below.
Let's go over being specific with your goal again.
For the longest time, my goals were "lose weight, get stronger, do well in school." I've done them all to some degree, but since I wasn't specific enough, I had to be okay with whatever progress I did make.
Instead, say exactly what you want and when you want it. "I want to lose 100 pounds in 12 months" is a great example of a specific goal. "Getting healthy" isn't measurable and leaves you open to negotiation and rationalization when it comes to eating and getting exercise.
Create a specific goal and add urgency to the mix. It's crazy how we can finish an essay that we put off until the night before so fast, right?
While I hate this terminology, it's the best description of what I mean. Being realistic about your goals are more for your safety and health more than me trying to tell you to not dream big.
Be wild with your goals; I just started learning how to deadlift when I saw an old school bodybuilder deadlift 605 for 12 reps. I told myself that's what I wanted to do.
Is that a realistic goal? No. Did I accomplish it? You're freaking right I did.
Come up with a goal that is attainable in a safe amount of time. I gave myself 3 years from when I started learning to deadlift. It was a long haul but I did it.
Having multiple goals are great, but you need to stay focused on one at a time.
If you want to lose a massive amount of body fat, don't try to keep breaking personal records. The focus you are giving to building more strength is taking away from you losing body fat.
If you are trying to build muscle, eat your foods and get some mass.
It's hard to do both at the same time and that's generally why people burn out or give up.
I've always been a "plan everything in advance" kind of guy, but I never thought to apply them to my goals. While it sounds stupid to not actually plan out how you are going to accomplish a goal, it happens more often than not.
Let's take losing weight for an example. You know you have to change your habits to lose weight, but what exactly do you need to do?
- 1.) You need to find your TDEE. Use a TDEE calculator and calculate how many calories you need.
- 2.) You need to start planning meals to meet these needs.
- 3.) You'll need to shop for food and meal prep. Do you know how to cook?
- 4.) You'll need to exercise. How long is enough? Are you focusing on progression?
If you are like me and don't really plan, you start eating less, not counting calories, and more or less hoping that you aren't eating too many calories.
If you don't take the time to plan out and actually execute your goals, you'll never make it.
Track Your Progress
Tracking your progress shows you what works, what doesn't, and gives you a reference point of where you started. If you are like me and can't believe how you let yourself get into the health situation you are in, having those first pictures of your journey really come in clutch when you are having doubts.
This is a lifestyle change, not an overnight process.
Keep a log of your food, your lifting, and even keep a journal for your thoughts. Looking back on your notes to yourself can be reassuring and helpful.
Find a Mentor or Partner
Finding someone who's been there and done that is important. Someone who can help guide you in the right direction, take you under their wing, and help push you to achieve something in life.
Having someone there that can help you during the low times and encourage you during the high times makes a difference in achieving your goals.
Having a good workout partner can help hold you accountable for what you eat, what you lift, and help you do more than you thought you could.
Find someone who has accomplished the goal you want to accomplish or find someone with the same voracity and hunger to achieve a similar goal.
No More Excuses
Own up to your mistakes, quit rationalizing everything, and stop blaming everyone else. If you can't gain weight and you blame genetics, you aren't eating enough. If you are fat and can't lose weight, don't sit around all day blaming genetics while drinking a soda.
If you aren't getting closer to your goals or you don't even have goals, it is your fault and your fault only. The truth hurts, but it is about to set you free.
Take control of your actions, write a bad-ass life, and start helping other people to their goals. It will come back tenfold.
Wrapping It Up
Look, time is non-renewable. Once the time has gone by, it's gone.
Does that make you scared? It should.
Stop reading this article right now and write down goals using the SMART criteria. Write down everything you want to achieve, big or small, and start making a plan for achieving them.
The next step is the biggest... Start working on these goals. Don't sit for hours reading and studying what you need to do before you even start. Just do it.
Let's make 2018 the best year we've ever had.