One of my goals for this year was to complete 240 workouts – which translates to about 20 workouts per month on average.
This morning I hit workout 243 so I’m very happy, especially with my travel schedule being nuts this years.
My goal for 2013 will be 220-240 workouts also. My travel schedule is busy, and with work commitments increasing, I’ll be very happy averaging four solid training sessions each week or around 16-18 each month.
This is what I call a process goal — it’s not an outcome that I’m looking for (e.g. lose 10lbs, increase my chin-up reps), although they are just as important – it’s a simple “do this” goal that I can make constant progress towards.
Goal setting is still hard for some people. I’ll often meet clients who are interested in losing fat and decide that they will start daily cardio, weight train four times per week, eat six small meals, cut calories by 20% and reduce their carb intake.
These are great goals — but most people are trying to do too much at once. John Berardi has said that studies show that if you want to make one change in your life, you have an 85% chance of success. However if you try to change two things at once, your chances of success drop to around 35%. Three things at once? Almost zero.
The solution to this is to use the goal snowball, an idea I first heard of from Chris Shugart. Here’s how to do it:
1) List five or six behaviors you need to improve or change to reach your goals. What do you need to be doing that you’re not doing? What bad habits do you need to kick? What good habits do you need to instill?
2) List these things from easiest to hardest.
3) “Maintain” all your other goals and focus your attention on the first thing on your list (the easiest one.) Spend two weeks just focusing on achieving that goal so that it becomes a habit.
4) Once that change has been made and ingrained, move up to the next item on your list and focus your efforts there.
5) One by one, knock out these changes and/or goals.
For example: Maybe you sleep late. First goal might be to get up 30 mins earlier every day.
Second goal might be to go to the gym as soon as you wake up
Third goal may be to go to the gym four times a week instead of three.
Fourth goal may be to make sure you always eat breakfast.
Fifth goal? Reduce portion sizes at 3 out of 5 meals…and so on.
So in 10 weeks or so – you’re getting up earlier – never missing a workout, have done an extra ten workouts, and eaten breakfast everyday, while consuming less calories overall. These goals would “snowball” into a bigger overall effect with long-term success whereas trying to do all things at once would likely result in short term failure.