Power of Personal Goal Setting
We often think about the things we want to achieve in life without really understanding why and
how we are going to do it. We decide to set ourselves a big goal but forget that there is power and
meaning behind it and that to really achieve the things we want to, it takes time, patience and
sacrifice. So, we are here to show you how you can set more intentional goals and how to FINALLY
What is goal setting?
Goal setting is the process of figuring out what you want to achieve but also defining the steps you
need to take in order to achieve it. There is a strong link between setting a goal and the likelihood
you are going to successfully achieve it, as a study by psychologist Gail Matthews found in 2015, as
you are visually creating the success in the act of writing it out, creating and finally taking the action.
So, when you are setting your goal, we encourage you to sit down firstly and think about how you
will feel when you achieve it. How will your life change, what is going to happen once this goal is
complete? Sit there and really embrace that feeling so you can see yourself achieving it.
Once you have that feeling, write it down. Then we step back from there as to how you are currently
feeling and what are you currently doing that is NOT allowing you to feel that way? This may be a
challenging exercise for you; however, it will enable you to understand what is currently holding you
back from the feeling you have specified above, and we encourage you to be honest with yourself
Also write down the things you ARE doing, as we are sure you are still doing something that aligns
with your goals, there are just some changes you may need to make to get realigned to the direction
you want to take.
Now that we know how you will feel once you’ve achieved this big dream and what you are doing
and not doing currently, we can create a SMART goal and the actionable steps you want to focus on
each day, week and month to reach the big goal you have! So, let’s break it down.
What is a SMART goal?
SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timebound. This means that the big
dream you have becomes a reality and you start to define how you are going to achieve it and when
you are going to achieve it by. For the purposes of this blog post, we are going to focus on weight loss,
however no matter what your goals are, the principles are the same! So, let’s
create an example to start us off:
I want to reduce a dress size from 14 to 12 in 3 months so I can feel confident in the dress I have
purchased for my cousin’s wedding.
As you can see, the goal is specific as it says what you want to achieve in terms of numbers, it is
measurable as it has a start and end date, it is achievable as one dress size is sustainable, and it is
realistic and timely as it has been given a good amount of time to be achieved.
A goal what would not be SMART would be:
I want to lose 10kg in 2 months so I can feel good in a bikini on the beach.
The reason this is not SMART is because whilst it is specific and timebound, it is not achievable or
realistic noting that two months to lose such a significant amount of weight (and that this will allow you to feel confident) is not a sustainable or maintainable in the long run to hope for. Depending on
your starting position, the first SMART goal would be a way to intentionally set yourself up for
Click HERE to download our SMART Goal template
So, you have created a SMART goal, what is next?
So, you have your goal, and you know what you will feel like when you achieve it; AND you know
what you are doing and not doing to achieve it, now is the time to outline what your actionable
steps will be to achieve it!
So, let’s say that the things you are currently not doing to align with your goals include not
exercising, having 3 glasses of wine each night, not including fruits and vegetables each day, working
a desk job and not having lunch and having a tub of ice cream in one sitting 3 days a week.
And the things that you are doing that align with your goals are having oats for breakfast each
morning, getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night and listening to meditation each night before bed.
Once we have these, we can start to look at what we can implement to the things you are doing that
AREN’T aligning with your goals and change them into things you ARE doing. If your goal is to lose a
dress size, starting off by focusing on meal size portions, including a serving of protein and
vegetables in each meal as well as 8 cups of water is a great start from a nutrition perspective. Then
when it comes to exercise, perhaps it is starting to walk each day. Perhaps you could also add some
online video-based workouts to begin with and then move to an online or face-to-face personal
training session with a coach from Motivate. The main thing is that you start by taking the slow and
steady in the direction that aligns with your overarching SMART goal.
What happens when I stop seeing progress?
The amazing thing about the human body is that it adapts to the environment in which it is in
quickly, which is great when it comes to body temperature in cold weather and calming us down
when we are in a stressed environment, however it isn’t the best thing when it comes to weight loss.
It means that we need to change things up in order to continue seeing the progress we are trying to
achieve. So perhaps you have been walking 30 minutes a day and eating 5 balanced meals a day. To
keep progressing towards your goals you may need to increase your walking to 45 minutes a day and
eating only 3 balanced meals a day instead; or perhaps walking 45 minutes a day and adding in 2
personal training sessions or a run. Whatever you can stick to in the long term to continue to see
results is the thing you should implement!
I have achieved my goal; now how do I maintain it?
MAINTAINING THE GOAL! The best part of achieving a goal! Our goals and priorities in life change
and so they should! So, you have reached your goal dress size and you loved how you felt in your
dress at your cousin’s wedding. But now you want to keep that dress size and not gain any fat, but
you also don’t want to keep feeling like you must be restricted with your food and want to find a
balance with your exercise.
The key thing here is to first recognise what actions you want to continue to take forward. Perhaps
you want to keep walking and stick to one personal training session a week. Instead of going back to
your normal eating habits, slowly start adding things in. Perhaps you weren’t having any chocolate
during this period, maybe now it is adding in 2 squares per day. Then after a few weeks, adding in a
small packet of crisps every second day when you feel like it. Or if you were tracking your calories, perhaps it is increasing by 50 calories each fortnight so you can allow your metabolism to adapt to the increase and maintain your fat loss success.
So often, people forget this part and it is one of the best ways to allow all the hard work you have
been focusing on to be maintained. This allows you to set goals that are different and maybe more
to do with a fitness or strength goal! It is great to have different kinds of goals so taking time to
focus on performance and strength away from consistently weight loss can really help to build a healthy
relationship with food and exercise.
And remember, sharing your goals with others and seeking the support and accountability of
someone who may have a similar goal to you or may be able to help you achieve the goal is a great
way of increasing the likelihood that you will achieve it. In the Gail Matthew’s study mentioned
earlier, those that wrote their goals down, created goal directed action and created accountability
for those actions were the most successful in the group.
So, if there is something you’ve always wanted to achieve and need support in taking that next step,
book a consultation and chat through your goals with a Motivate personal trainer to reach them
Written By Paige: Female fitness expert at MotivatePT – Reps Level 3 Qualified / Pre & Post Natal