Goal setting (identifying a dream) is generally not a difficult thing to do for most people, but realizing the goal often fails. This is commonly because while most of us can come up with some ideas as to what we want to do, so many of us will not clearly identify them.
The flaw is quite simple. If you cannot clearly identify your goal, then how will you know if/when it is achieved? Typical vague goals are:
“I am going to start running” – What does start running mean? A jog around the block? Complete a 5km race? Running a marathon?
“I want to lose some weight” – How much? Over what period of time?
“I want to travel” – Where to? Multiple destinations? When?
“I want to be successful” – What is success to you?
Goal setting can be used very successfully as a motivation tool to achieve pretty much anything however, for a goal to be motivational, it must be both realistic and measurable. If a goal is unrealistic, then logic would dictate a negative outcome. If it cannot be measured, then it is questionable as to whether you can ever know whether it has been achieved!
Once a goal has been given some measurable characteristics, then a plan can be developed which will not only take you in the direction of your goal, but will also provide visible evidence that you are on schedule to achieve the goal! Of course it could also indicate that you are a little behind schedule which might suggest re-scheduling a little, but the original goal is still achievable.
A common misunderstanding is that some goals cannot be quantified. I would suggest that every goal can be quantified, but some may need a lot of thought to achieve that end.
“I want to tone my body” can be seen as a challenge to quantify, but it isn’t. What does toning mean to you?
“I want better muscle definition” – Define muscle definition and location.
“Well, I want to see the muscles flex, and all over my body” – We should break it down into a specific area of body to start with, and then progress through other parts of your body.
“Okay, my upper arm muscles” – Muscles are more easily measured by their ability, than physical measurement, so perhaps we could start with a Preacher Curl and determine what your current ability is.
“I can do 10 x 50lb curls x 3 sets.” – Then let us set a goal of 10 x 100lbs curls x 3 sets. Given your age, and based on alternate day workouts, our goal date is 12 weeks from now.
In the above fictitious dialogue, “toning” has been defined by accepting that increased muscle ability will dictate better toning. A muscle ability goal has been established; a method has been determined, and a time frame has been established to achieve that goal. If that individual is on schedule, then they should be curling 3 sets of 10 x 75lbs after 6 weeks!
Goal setting can be a huge motivational tool if used properly so, if you currently do not have any goals, think about the possibilities. You may surprise yourself!