Get Your Goals Right
Ever since your days of playing high level sport, you’ve understood the value of setting goals and how setting a “true north” can inspire and motivate you.
And you know the best way to set those goals is using the SMART acronym.
That is, set goals that are:
S = specific
M = measurable
A = adjustable
R = realistic
T = Timely
But, what if there was a better way to set goals?
What if your current method of goal-setting was hindering progress,
And deflating and demotivating you?
What if setting goals pumped you up?
What if your goals gave you a clear sense of direction and aligned with with your “true north”?
The truth is that it’s great to have “pie-in-the-sky”, SMART goals,
but they don’t always drive action in the right direction,
They don’t aways focus on the right actions,
and they don’t always make attainment of your “true north” a reality.
So, we need to be selective when picking the right kinds of goals.
The right kinds of goals line up with who you are deep-down at your very core.
The right kinds of goals focus on actions not outcomes.
The right kind of goals focus on intrinsically-driven factors compared to externally-regulated motives.
And the right kind of goals move you towards something not away from it.
Here are the different types of goals you can set when taking back your lean, fit, athletic body.
1-Behaviour-based goals > outcome-based goals
Outcome-based goals like losing 10lbs of fat,
gaining 10lbs of muscle,
and increasing your bench press by 30lbs are all awesome goals to have.
But, the truth is that they don’t drive action,
They don’t give you a clear blueprint of what you need to do,
And they may not inspire and motivate you over time.
Now, don’t get it twisted, you can use these outcome goals,
they are especially useful as a measuring stick to check in with your progress.
Definitely use them as evidence and information.
But, behaviour-based goals are where it’s at.
Behaviour-based goals are empowering,
and lend themselves to long-term habit formation (because I imagine that you want to keep off your lost fat for longer than 3 weeks).
An example of a behaviour goal would be to walk 30 minutes every day at lunch,
Drink 2 supershakes per day or
bench press for 3 sets of 3-5 reps 2 times per week.
These are behaviour goals that we can sink our teeth into.
They are part of the process,
the road to success.
When setting goals, make sure to set them according to what you can take action on every day with intensity and enthusiasm.
Behaviour goals put you in the driver’s seat.
Buckle up, baby 🙂
2-Mastery goals > performance goals
Performance goals, like winning first place in that race,
lifting more weight than that asshole at the gym,
or beating Shelly in the “biggest loser” competition at work
does not stoke your fires like you may have once thought.
These are externally-regulated motives that are not only outside of your control,
but they don’t appeal to who you are as a human-being.
And when these externally-regulated motivations are removed, there is nothing left to fall back onto.
Once the race is over,
Once the competition is over,
or if that asshole moves to another gym,
the motivation is lost and you are left with no gas left in your engine.
The better option is to set goals based on mastering a skill.
This appeals to your own intrinsic drive to improve.
These types of goals are called “mastery” goals.
Mastery goals can include:
“I will learn 3 new ways to cook chicken”,
“ I will keep my back neutral in every rep of my squats”,
or “ I will practice ‘active listening’ every day when talking to my spouse”.
These goals are within you.
They are intrinsic and independent of factors outside of your control.
3- “Approach” goals > “avoid” goals
“Avoid” goals like I will not eat candy
I will not spend all of my money
push you away from a behaviour that may not be conducive to your “true north”.
Conversely, approach goals pull you towards a behaviour that may be more conducive to your “true north”.
Now, what is more motivating long-term?
Moving towards a behaviour that is conducive to your goals or running away from one that is less conducive to your goals?
Running away from a behaviour may be motivating short-term, but don’t forget the impact of the “all-or-none” mindset.
If you remember from our article on the “all-or-none” mindset, setting up food rules often backfires.
You will see the “bad” food as a form of restriction and deprivation and may even resort back to “bad” foods as a form of rebellion against your “good” behaviour.
Furthermore, when you set up these food rules, you will have nothing to fall back onto when you deviate from the rules.
In the long-run, moving towards behaviours works.
So, move towards the behaviours that are conducive to your “true north” and they will often quietly displace the behaviours you are trying to run from.
The final type of goal we will discuss is a values-based / identity-based goal.
These are the type of goals that align with the person you are deep-down,
what you stand for,
and what you believe in.
Questions to ask yourself include:
Who am I?
Am I a parent?
A brother or sister?
What do I believe in?
What traits do I admire in others?
This will give you insight into your identity and values.
You can then set your goals accordingly.
An example of a identity- and values-based behaviour goal would be:
“I will take the dog for a 30-minute walk every day with my family”.
This appeals to the identity of a dog-lover and a family-man with the values of discipline, consistency and work-life balance.
The type of goals you set can make or break your success in reclaiming your high-powered,
high-energy athletic body.
They can serve to inspire or deflate,
encourage or discourage,
guide or confuse,
and direct or mislead.
The use of values-driven, behaviour-based, mastery and approach goals will ensure get you there in the long-run.
The choice is yours’.