There’s an old business adage that goes like this; “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” This is the the embodiment of goal setting, whether it be fat loss, money management, work performance, right down to the overall quality of your life.
This is the element of goal setting that took the longest for myself to figure out, but I can say I am a master at it now. I’m organized to a fault and almost always have been. I have a workout journal that goes back to 2001 (1997-2000 was water damaged along the way). I can tell you how many workouts, kettlebell sessions, 10 Km runs I’ve done, how well I’ve eaten, my weekly bodyfat percentage and how my life experiences has affected my health positively or negatively in the last 11 years. Its almost like a diary, I’ve always written down whats gone on in my life each month in my workout journal.
You may likely say “How anal, so OCD!” You’re probably right, but here’s the trick: I have never spent more than 30 seconds a day recording it. Those 30 seconds continually pay off for me. I know EXACTLY what the standard is to see improvements in my health, leanness and overall quality of life. I never have to guess and never have to make a resolution or resort to a fucking ‘cleanse’ (you bet thats gonna be on the top 10 list!). That workout journal is a map, I’m still working towards the destination. What I can tell you is at the age of 40 I’m physically stronger, leaner and more fit than in my 20’s and 30’s. Here’s another side-benefit, I’ve NEVER wished to be younger as a result. I truly believe I’m still getting better in every facet of my life and my best days are still ahead of me. I have the numbers to prove it.
Yet the map is useless with no destination in mind. So if you’ve set a ‘resolution’ for 2012, instead change it to a goal and add the following to it.
#1. WHY? – Why is this important to you? What are the rewards? Why is this worth the physical and mental discomfort you’re about to go through? (all change requires a period of discomfort) What are the consequences of NOT accomplishing the goal?
#2. HOW? – Create a map to get to your pre-destined goal. You’ll change it along the way, so pencils are better than pens here. BTW – write down the mistakes!!!! As far as knowledge and self-awareness mistakes are as valuble as gold.
#3. WHEN? – Like I said last week, take a look at your life and the 168 hours in each week (51 weeks left in 2012!). How much free time do you have and what part of each day can you commit to the goal? Can you find time to get to your workouts (including a commute)- lunch breaks? before or after work? weekends? When will you find the time to buy & cook the healthy food you plan to help you achieve the goal?
#4. WHERE? At the gym? train at home? at your workplace gym? outside?
Now that you know exactly what the goal is and you have the focus to go after that goal its time for step 5 (Steps 1-4 are here).
Step 5 – Clear the clutter! To make change easier we need to remove the obstacles from your life to prevent distractions & excuses. I’m a minimalist by nature, in fact my weekend project is selling a lot of old items on Ebay. I’ve lived in my current place for two years now. Anything I haven’t used or even looked at since moving in is being sold on Ebay. I find clutter distracting, a good cleanup/overhaul makes me feel organized and focused on the tasks ahead, instead of all the things “I should get around to” or haven’t done. Its a reduction of distractions both in my home and in my head.
“Sure I’m on the road to ruin, only gonna ruin it just a little bit. Well, that’s the trouble with self-improvement, only I know when it’s time to quit.” — David Lee Roth “A Little Luck”
Step 6 – Learn from your mistakes. If this is the same goal as your 2011 resolution then you must have a different method to achieve that goal. The mere fact that you needed to set the goal again should tell you the previous method sucked. Too many go out every January to achieve the same goal, the same way and getting the same (lack of) result. Don’t be one of those people! If you want change you must change first!
Do yourself a favour and watch this video by David Goldstein “The battle between your present and future self” The section on ‘committment devices’ is fascinating.
This may seem like a lot of work, but if you can’t even be bothered to draw a map, how will you ever find your destination? The devil is in the details;)