In the New Year especially, we are bombarded with the notion that it is a great time to set goals, decide your New Year’s resolutions and begin the year with a bang!
Some people think that if you have to wait for the new year to set it as a goal, you don’t care.
Some people thrive off of the ‘reset’ and ‘fresh start’.
We don’t believe that setting New Year’s resolutions means you don’t care, but we do think there is never really the ‘perfect’ time to set goals.
Someone’s birthday is coming up.
It’s about to be busy at work.
It’s winter, so it’s cold, rainy and dark.
It’s summer, so I want to enjoy the good weather with friends.
Whatever your reason is for it not being the best time to begin a new goal, stop letting it get in your way of getting to where you want to be.
It will never be the best time.
The best time is now.
Setting goals, in theory, is pretty straightforward.
You are at point A and want to be at point B. So just work out what you need to do to get from one point to the other and just do it, right?
We know it isn’t always that easy. So here are some tips to help with goal setting.
Firstly, think about the goal you have and write that down.
Is it short-term (< three months), medium-term (< six months) or long term (> six months).
Then we think, is it process-focused or outcome-focused?
Process-focused goals are about specific actions, or ‘processes’, E.G., exercises thrice per week for 45 minutes.
Outcome-focused goals refer to the end goal, E.G. losing 10kg.
Both have their place, and both are important! For example, often, when we have an outcome goal, we want associated process goals to help us reach that point.
SMART goal setting is a simple place to start with this:
Specific – does your goal have a focus with a specific tangible outcome?
Measurable – can you measure it clearly and accurately? Is it clear to define if you have been successful or not?
Attainable – is your goal challenging but reasonable to achieve, especially within the time frame you set?
Relevant – does this goal align with your overarching desired outcome?
Time Frame – what is the deadline to reach this goal? What is the schedule you are following to meet this goal?
With your goal in mind, write these headers and comment on each section.
We want our goals to be something we have to work hard for. That isn’t something we are already doing (otherwise, what is the point!)
But we don’t want them to be too far out of reach, unrealistic and unattainable. This is setting ourselves up for failure.
Think about your overall goal (an outcome goal) and then set 1-3 process goals you need to achieve to get there.
Now you know how to set your goals, but how do you decide yours?
When the goal is related to weight, we have accessible data to collect by weighing ourselves.
If it is related to strength gain or aerobic fitness improvements, again, there is complex data in the numbers we record for the weight we have lifted or the time it takes us to complete a task.
But when we look at other aspects of our health and wellness outside of these parameters, it can become less clear on the goal and how we track that.
Here are five ideas to help you decide what your next goal/s should be:
1. Habit Implementation
We have an article on habit stacking, which breaks down what it is and how you use the methods to have a consistent routine.
These habits can certainly be a goal!
- Water intake
- Routinely taking supplements
- No phone an hour before bed
- Five pages of a book every day
- Complete your weekly check-in form and attend the weekly check-in call
You want to reduce your screen time (an outcome goal) and improve your sleep (an outcome goal).
To achieve this, you can target not going on your phone in the hour leading up to your bedtime and, instead, reading five pages of a book (process goal).
A notepad could measure this with a checklist or via the habits section of your Barn App, where the following day, you can check off whether or not you have completed it successfully the day before.
You want to become more engaged with your journey for better health and have more accountability (an outcome goal).
To do this, you will complete your weekly check-in form and attend the weekly check-in call – and not only this, but you will engage (process goal) actively.
So you aren’t writing the same thing in your check-in form every week, and you will engage in the conversations in the call.
You can monitor this by letting your trainer know these are your plans (accountability), by noting down in your app every time you complete the form and attend the call, and finally, by each week, writing down 3 points in your check-in form specific to that week.
2. Mental Health-Related Goals
Our mental health is just as important as physical health, so having goals to improve/support that is fantastic!
It can be tricky to quantify this at times, but similar to the habits mentioned above, we can have checklists to help track our actions.
- Daily light exposure
- Cold water exposure
- Daily journaling
- Therapy Attendance
- Daily movement
- Daily meditation/breathwork
You want to manage your anxiety (an outcome goal).
To help with this, you will journal every day (process goal) and note how many days you journaled this week in your weekly check-in form.
You aim to decrease depressive symptoms and improve alertness (an outcome goal).
To do this, you will start by experimenting with cold water exposure through a 20s cold shower each morning (process goal) and get daily light exposure (process goal) – with brilliant health benefits!
You can monitor this by a checklist via the app, recording how many days in the week you manage each one in your weekly check-in form and noting how you feel each day (whether you complete the tasks or not).
3. Injury/Pain Reduction
Unfortunately, injuries and painful joints/muscles can’t always be avoided and can happen due to an accident.
Sometimes longstanding injuries can cause pain/difficulty doing certain things, and other times.
In addition, you can experience aches and pains due to everyday life.
These can be frustrating and significantly impact your physical and mental health.
Each injury will be different – some might require rest, some rehab exercises, and some operations. It is always best to seek expert medical advice around injuries.
You want to squat to your full range without pain at the hip (an outcome goal).
To help reach this goal, you will attend physiotherapy once a month (process) and make sure you complete the mobility and rehab exercises prescribed. If that happens to be twice daily, monitor this through your app and note down how many times that week you completed the routine in your weekly check-in form.
Good attendance is regularly linked with better performance and the likelihood of achieving goals.
Having good attendance is almost always going to be a process goal, as the overall outcome will be the bigger picture of improved strength, weight loss/gain, better mental health etc.
However, this is a straightforward but great goal for most people as it has a fantastic domino effect.
You get more exposure to your trainers and like-minded, positive individuals, which significantly influences your thoughts. You also benefit from a consistent routine plus all the excellent stuff exercise brings!
Speak with your trainer if this is your goal. They can keep an eye on your attendance through Teamup and check how many sessions you are booked into and not turning up to in a week! For yourself, you can use your Barn App to log in when you do a Bootcamp session by adding an ‘activity’.
You can pre-schedule these, so on a Sunday evening, take 2 minutes to plan your sessions for the week, pop them into your app on the appropriate day, and then tick off once you have completed the session.
5. Nutrition Based Goals
If you are a member of The Barn, you will have been given a personalised calorie target and macronutrient breakdown, so these are pre-made goals for you to aim for.
But what if you’re struggling to hit those targets? This is where a process goal can help!
You routinely go over your calorie target by 200 calories and want to reduce that surplus.
To achieve this, you make small swaps to your everyday meals to reduce the calorie count. E.G. swapping olive oil for a Frylight spray, having a smaller portion at lunch, taking out one snack per day and swapping it for a lower calorie option etc.
You can track this simply through your usual tracking on MyFitnessPal. Your weekly successes and failures can then be discussed with your trainer in your weekly check-in form and call.
You are struggling with emotional eating and want to become more in tune with your hunger signals (an outcome goal).
To work on this, you could practise mindful eating (see our blog for a more detailed breakdown). To track this, you could note down how many times per day you eat at a table rather than on the go or on the sofa. You also monitor how you feel when eating – a simple emotion chart that you tick off works!
This can be noted in your weekly check-in form, and then any issues or wins you can discuss with the group in the weekly check-in call.
You may have noticed a common theme here.
CHECK IN WITH YOUR TRAINER(S).
The weekly check-in documents and calls are a great tool to use when looking at accountability for goals.
Having someone else know your goal(s) and how you intend to achieve them adds that layer of support.
So, although on the surface, it can seem more challenging to create ‘measurable’ goals when it isn’t easy ‘hard’ data to collect, there are lots of things you can do!
Need help knowing what goals to set?
Speak with your trainer if you are a member, or click ‘Enquire Now’ if you are not!