6 Ways to Achieve Any Goal
When we set out to accomplish something, we tend to have a good idea of what our ultimate goal is, or what will happen when we finally achieve what we’re striving for. Any goal we aim to achieve is most likely challenging to meet. If it wasn’t – we probably wouldn’t take the time to seek out guidance as to how to achieve it in the most efficient, success-friendly way as possible…or identify it as a goal at all. Here are 6 ways to achieve ANY goal you can set your mind to!
The 6 Ways to Achieve Any Goal
- Determine Your Why
You’ve probably heard this phrase before. I had, too, but had a complete and total misunderstanding of how to apply it to my life and my goals, both professionally, and within fitness. When I think about my “why” for leading a healthy lifestyle, my first thought is, “Well duh, I want to look good, feel better, be more confident, etc.” I think this is probably a pretty common response for most people, because we’re so results-oriented when we’re thinking about what we’re doing, particularly in fitness. At a training I attended this past school year, we watched a video from 2009 TED Talks in which Simon Sinek talked about starting with why, and the Golden Circle. This is when it finally made more sense to me. Determining our why isn’t about identifying the obvious results we want to achieve. It’s about looking within ourselves, into our beliefs about ourselves, our business, our family – and how to apply those values in how we go about achieving our goals.
I’ve been able to apply this concept to my fitness goals by sitting down and taking the time to examine what it is I really believe – what I stand for. I believe it’s important to better myself every day. I believe I am supposed to use my physical abilities to better myself, and my drive, charisma and compassion to connect with others to help them along their way. By taking the necessary steps to improve my overall health and lifestyle habits, I can live out this belief every single day. When you put that into perspective, it sounds a lot more motivating than “I want to fit in my jeans from high school,” doesn’t it? Taking time to reflect on where your desire and drive to achieve your goals comes from is a monumental first step on your way to taking the right actions to get where you want to go.
- Set SMART Goals
Once you know your why, you’re ready to get more into the results. Results are the measure by which we will determine if we have indeed achieved our goal, or are progressing in the right direction. Many have heard of setting SMART goals, which is an acronym for the criteria all goals should meet in order for them to be achieved.
Specific – The goals you set need to be targeted. Jumping in with “I want to be fit,” or “I want to lose weight,” isn’t specific enough. If your goals aren’t specific, how will you know when you’ve achieved them? We’re looking for specific, results-oriented goals here. Do you want to focus on pounds? Body fat percentage? Fitting into a specific outfit or clothing item? Being able to run a certain distance or lift a certain amount? The goal is yours, but the target’s easier to hit if you know exactly what you’re shooting for.
Measurable – The goal you would like to achieve needs to be measurable. As we discussed in the “specific” section, it’s impossible to know if you’ve achieved your goal if you don’t know exactly what it is, and how to measure it! This can be as simple as the number of pounds lost or gained, body fat percentage, the number of push-ups you can do, etc. etc. Once you have something measurable, you can track your progress and make any necessary adjustments to your approach that will help you achieve your goal!
Attainable – The goal you set needs to be something that you can realistically achieve. While you may have some long-term goals that you hope to achieve over a longer period of time, setting benchmark goals is important to. For example, if your long term goal is to be able to do 10 unassisted pull-ups with no rest, but right now you’re not able to do any, it’s probably a good idea to set a goal for doing 1 unassisted pull-up. Then you can set your sights on 3, 5, 7…and ultimately 10. Setting attainable goals is SO important for tracking progress and keeping yourself motivated. By setting an astronomical goal, that will take an extremely long time to achieve, you’re setting yourself up for failure, while also missing out on the opportunity to celebrate all of the small victories along the way! Setting benchmark goals on your way to the ultimate goal, will help keep your head in the game, and get you to where you want to be even faster.
Relevant – This piece is really basic. Your goals needs to be relevant to the area of your life you’re trying to improve. In other words, if you’re attempting to improve your physical fitness, or overall health, you want your goals to be targeted in this same area. If you had a flat tire, you wouldn’t fill up the gas tank, right? This is the same concept – your goals need to apply to the area you’re hoping to improve.
Time-bound – This piece is extremely important to achieving your goals, and ties in very well with the concept of measurable and attainable goals. When setting your short and long-term goals, it’s important to determine when these goals will be completed. This helps with accountability and motivation to stay on top of these goals. Goals could be time-bound by a specific event, months, weeks, etc. If deadlines are put in place, it’s easier to hold yourself accountable along the way.
By setting SMART goals, you can be sure that you have an extremely clear vision of what you want to achieve, what it will look like when you’ve achieved it, and when you can expect it to happen – if you have managed to stick to the plan.
- Create a Solid Support System
We all know that the most difficult part of any weight-loss or fitness journey is sticking to it. It is infinitely easier to get your friends to come along with you to happy hour than it is to get them to come along with you to the gym. It’s also easier to go along to a happy hour than it is to take yourself to the gym. People can tell you all they want that “No, no, no – I’d much rather go to the gym than hit up happy hour with my friends.” They are liars. All of them.
This is what makes fitness hard – it takes endless work to achieve and maintain it. So, if you’re going to achieve the body and lifestyle that you want, there are going to be things that you’re going to have to be willing to give up. Happy hour and frequent dinners out are probably a couple of them. This is why it’s so important to surround yourself with like-minded people, with similar goals to yours. This can be really difficult to do depending on your previous lifestyle and the people that you’re close to.
If you want to achieve your goals, especially if they’re significantly different from something you’ve done before, you simply have to be willing to also change your surroundings. That may be the people you’re around, or the attitudes of the people who are around you. Finding people with the same, or similar, goals is extremely helpful in holding yourself accountable and feeling less alone along your journey.
When it comes to family, you’re basically stuck with them, whether they’re on a similar path as you or not. In most cases, your family is going to want to support you in achieving your goals, if they understand just how important it is to you. It’s absolutely necessary that you talk to them very directly about what you’re trying to achieve, what your plan is to achieve it, and how they can help you along the way. They can’t read your mind, so it is extremely important that you take it upon yourself to explain to them how they can support you. By putting a solid support system of the people closest to you in place, you will set yourself up for success.
- Monitor Your Progress and Celebrate Your Victories!
This is, in my opinion, the BEST part of setting, working for, and achieving any goal. Data intimidates a lot of people, because it can be used in so many different ways. Honestly, you can spin statistics to make them say whatever you want them to say – check out any political campaign ever, for a million examples of that.
We hit on the importance of making goals measurable earlier, and this is where we use those measurements to see how things are going. The only way we’ll know if what we’re doing is working, is monitoring how it’s going while we’re working our way through. This is where we can track our benchmark goals on our way to our bigger, long-term goals.
Monitoring progress can have very positive and negative effects on our attitude and motivation to continue on our trek toward achieving our goals. If things are going well, it can be an amazing boost to see that we’re moving in the right direction. Conversely, it can be extremely discouraging to see that we’ve flat-lined, or made no progress at all when it feels like we should have. Weight is a big one that can be really discouraging for some people, especially women. There are a TON of ways to measure progress, beyond weight – body fat percentage, measurements, energy levels, clothing fit, etc. By tracking progress in a number of measurable ways, you can be sure to find an area of improvement – provided you’ve stuck to your plan and followed through on the necessary steps to achieve your goal.
As you monitor your progress, you’ll have the opportunity to troubleshoot anything you might need to change. Everybody is different, and a cookie cutter lifting or eating regimen may need to be altered to work best for you. Monitoring progress also gives you the opportunity to celebrate all of the things that are going right! Celebrating all of the victories you have along your journey are all a part of falling in love with the process of changing your health, your mindset and your life – enjoy them!
- Utilize Social Media –
How many hours do you spend browsing Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest in a day? I’m not even ashamed to say that I’m no less guilty of this than the next person. There’s something new every few minutes, and it’s endlessly entertaining. The best part is, you can use all of these platforms, not to mention, MCP Total Fitness, to your advantage in achieving your goal.
With all of these social media options, you basically have the entire world at your fingertips, with the ability to connect with all kinds of people who are on the exact same journey as you! Remember when we were talking about how important it is to build a network around you that will support you in achieving your goals? This makes it SO much easier. There are countless groups, challenges and individuals out there, who want nothing more than to connect with other people and support each other along the way.
Beyond connecting with others, social media gives you the opportunity to celebrate your victories with tons of other people. You can post pictures of what you ate, how you worked out, progress pictures or states, inspirational quotes – whatever! Millions, literally millions, of people are out there waiting to connect and engage with you along your journey to achieving your goals. These resources are completely free, and can be a really fun component of your journey.
The other great piece of these platforms is the wealth of information that’s out there. Don’t know how to do a certain lift? – there are probably 100 YouTube videos out there that will show you in 5 minutes or less. Need a new healthy recipe? – Pinterest is covered in them. Want to know how to set up your nutrition plan for your goals? – Reddit and YouTube have endless information on these topics. It can be really intimidating to start on a journey when you don’t feel educated in the subject, but the content is out there….you just have to go find it!
- Never Be Satisfied
Don’t ever be afraid to overachieve and push beyond the goals you’ve set for yourself. Once you have achieved what you originally set out to do, find a way to push yourself further. If you aim to keep improving, there is truly not ceiling to the things you can accomplish – in fitness, or in life. When you’re first starting out, it may seem far-fetched to believe you can achieve anything beyond your current long-term goal, but if you stay the course, it WILL happen – and you’ll need to find a way to set another long-term goal. These 6 concepts that you can apply to setting and achieving your goals are a constant that will help you along your way, no matter it is you want to accomplish.
To see how I’m applying each of these strategies to my own fitness journey, be sure to check out my Goal Crusher series, as I work toward achieving my goals! Don’t forget to bring MCP Total Fitness along for your journey as well – we’ll be here along your entire journey to help you Maximize your strengths, Conquer your fears and weaknesses and Prevail against all odds!
Thanks for being you — keep it real.
Founder: MCP Total Fitness