Eyes on the Prize: How to set and achieve your goals

TDB Fitness Newsletter 3/7/2021

Goal setting is important in fitness. There are a few important considerations to keep in mind when selecting goals for your unique fitness journey. Here are some trainer’s tips on how to set good goals.

Tip of the week:

Goal Setting

When I taught 8th grade, I used to set goals with my students. We actually used a common formula school-wide for teaching students how to set their own goals. We called the kind of goals we set S.M.A.R.T. Goals. S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-based.

This formula is simple, easy to use, and effective. It’s one of those things that teaching the kids actually helped me learn a lot too! When you follow the S.M.A.R.T. acronym to set your goals (fitness-related or otherwise), you are setting a goal you’re actually likely to achieve. Here’s how to make sure your goal is S.M.A.R.T:

Specific

Your goal should be specific. In other words, you should be able to describe exactly what it will look, sound, and feel like when you achieve your goal.

Example: “To get strong” v. “To increase my benching weight”

“Strong” is not specific enough. Everyone has different definition of what makes someone strong. How will you know when you are officially strong?

Measurable

You want to be able to track your progress on your goal. Tracking your progress only becomes possible if you can measure the outcome in some way.

Example: “To increase my benching weight” v. “To increase my benching weight by ten pounds”

In this video, Vinnie walks you through the fitness test.
Attainable

Your goal needs to be something you can actually achieve. In the context of fitness, think about your body. What is your body capable of now? What standard is your body capable of attaining in the future?

Example: “To increase my benching weight by 10 pounds” v. “To win a gold medal in weightlifting at the 2020 Summer Olympics (to be held July 2021)”

Realistic

Is your goal something you can achieve in the time you have available to you? Think about the same example from above. Maybe the body you have would have been able to win a gold in weightlifting at the 2020 Summer Olympics if you had started training for it decades ago. But we don’t have decades between now and then, so even if it would have been attainable, it’s not realistic.

Time-based

Give your goals a time frame. And make it a time frame that puts a little bit of pressure on you. I’m not advocating you stress yourself out too much, but motivation comes easier when you have a deadline.

Example: “To increase my benching weight by ten pounds” v. “To increase my benching weight by ten pounds in two months.”

Food for Thought:

Setting goals for your mental health

Setting goals is just as important for your mental health as it is for fitness. We carry around the misconception that “mental health” means “mental illness,” and that mental illness is like physical illness in the sense that if something is wrong, we can just “fix it.” We can take the medication, eat the required diet, get the recommended amount of rest and we’ll be all better. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

You can struggle with your mental health even if you don’t have a mental illness. Living a mentally healthy life takes practice, it takes discipline. Just like in fitness, habit forming and goal setting can help you improve your mental health — whether you have a mental illness or not. When setting goals to improve your mental health, you can still use the S.M.A.R.T. goal acronym. However, here are a few extra considerations to keep in mind when setting your mental health goals:

Make Time and Space for Grief

I have to be honest here, working on your mental health can be overwhelming. Why? Well, when you start tracing the roots of your toxic habits of thought, you usually unearth some things. Within this unearthing process, you may realize certain realities about yourself or your life that triggers grief. Grief doesn’t just happen when you lose a loved one. We grieve when we lose anything, including our reality as we once believed it to be.

This is deep stuff. A lot of us have been experiencing grief in different ways throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Grief isn’t always pretty or easy and our mental health can sometimes feel like it’s getting worse before it gets better. However, by setting short-term goals to get us over the hurdles towards are long-term goals, we give ourselves more attainable benchmarks to hit along the way. This scaffolds the process and makes it easier to handle all around.

For example, when I quit my teaching job I experienced intense grief. “Teacher” wasn’t just my job, it was my identity. I lost a huge part of who I thought I was when I decided to leave the classroom. This grief incapacitated me for months. My ability to work on the very valid mental health concerns that I had literally just quit my job for, stalled as I now had to manage my grief. However, my therapist helped me set both long and short-term S.M.A.R.T. goals to manage my grief as well, and I was eventually able to move on.

Don’t go it alone

Mental health is personal so opening up to others about it can be difficult. Especially if you were raised in a culture like ours, that stigmatizes and silences concerns over mental health. Difficult doesn’t mean it’s not totally worthwhile though! And trying to tackle your mental health issues alone does nothing but make achieving your goals way harder.

Seeing a licensed therapist is one great way to give yourself the support you need to achieve your mental health goals There are several different types of licensed therapists that approach mental health through different lenses. Take a look at the providers your insurance offers, and do some research. It takes some patience and a willingness to try more than one, but finding the therapist that works for you is worth it.

Reflect on your progress

Working on your mental health is complex and emotional. By taking moments to stop and reflect on your progress, you make it more likely to achieve your goal in the long run. First of all, intentional reflection allows you to celebrate small victories. Have I mentioned that working on your mental health is difficult? Acknowledging even the smallest amount of progress helps you keep up the stamina to reach that long-term goal.

Secondly, reflection helps you notice patterns in your habits and your thoughts. I like to reflect through journalling. When I write down my thoughts, I can go back and look at them later. This allows me to notice patterns and make connections. These connections help me understand myself and my mental health better. They also provide me guidance in how to modify or set new goals in the future.

Goal setting is an important exercise, regardless of what we want for ourselves. When we set S.M.A.R.T. goals, we set ourselves up to go after exactly what we want. And, whether you have a fitness goal, or a mental health goal, we at Team Di Bella Fitness are here to support you to the finish line.

Team Announcements

Record Your Fitness Test Results

The workout from Saturday 3/6 included a fitness test. The purpose of this test is to set a baseline measurement for our strength and endurance. Record your results and share them with Vinnie so he can help you set up both your S.M.A.R.T. goals and a plan for achieving them! Record your results here.

Referral Program

Refer your friends to TDB Fitness and receive a week of training 50% off.

All they have to do is give us your name when signing up for a new training package. (Receive one week of training at 50% off for each referral).

Join us for Happy Hour!

Fill out the Happy Hour Survey. We would love to start hosting periodic evening classes with a cocktail hour following (21+ only). Fill out the survey with information about your availability so we can plan our first event!

7 thoughts on “Eyes on the Prize: How to set and achieve your goals

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