How goal setting can improve performance

by | May 20, 2024

My first two articles introduced myself and explained how I can help with your health and fitness journey. Article 2 shared a workout program plus a healthy snack of mine. Let’s discuss setting goals and why they can be significant and influential this month. 

When I started my fitness journey in 2013, after having my two daughters, I wanted to get back into shape. I have always been active and loved playing sports. I decided to run, skip, and add situps to my workouts. Then my friend came over, and I hadn’t seen her in a while. She lost a lot of weight, so I bought some exercise DVDs later. Knowing how to use weights would help. I didn’t know much about weightlifting or anything. All I knew was that I wanted the same progress as my friend. At the time, she hired a personal trainer, and it wasn’t within my budget to hire one for me. My goal then was to lose weight and get stronger. I used those exercise DVDs and lost the baby weight on my own. I was referred to my first online coach in 2014 by a friend of a friend. I started at Spa Lady with the daycare they provided while I worked out. My Coach was a WNBF natural figure competitor, and I wanted the same thing. I had no idea about the competing world or the process. Still, she taught me about mindset/nutrition/exercises and how much I enjoyed competing by taking 1st place and overall at my first competition with IDFA. 

I had no idea this passion for the fitness world would lead me to where I am today and with whom I am, sitting here typing and sharing this with you all. I am so grateful that I could pinch myself sometimes to wonder if it’s all so real. The main point about this is how one goal led to another, which led to another. Let me help you start with what worked for me and what I was taught in college. It could help you as well. 

Have you ever heard of SMART Goal setting? SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time. Understanding SMART Goals:

Specific stands for the particular goal of what you are trying to achieve and do here. Ask what you want to achieve, how you want to achieve it, why it is essential, and where this will happen. Yet, most importantly, create a plan by writing out your goal and taking action on how to get to this goal. My example was, “I wanted to compete naturally in bodybuilding next year in the fall.” Natural bodybuilding means we are tested for enhancements and steroids through urine and lie detector testing.

Measurable: Keep a reasonable time frame on your goal and set a date. Think about how you will know that this goal is accomplished. Ask yourself how you can and how much you will have to do. You can use Living Full Circle to check in with yourself and help keep you accountable and focused on your goal. My example is,” I will hire my coach and follow their fitness and nutrition program for the year, so I will compete on November 26th, 2015.”

Achievable: Will this goal be achievable within this certain time frame? My example is, “ Will a year give me enough time to learn and practice with my coach before going on stage?” 

Relevant: Is this goal realistic for your lifestyle and values or priorities? Is this something you truly want to do? Does it have a strong meaning to you? Commit, but see the steps you need to take daily. Can you make these daily commitments to yourself? Can you take accountability for doing it every day? My example is, “ I have to work out at the gym 4- 5 times a week with my coach, and I need to eat whole foods and make healthier eating choices. Can I commit to this daily to reach my goal to step on stage next year?” 

Time frame: Setting this time frame will help you finish the goal. Helping you to remain focused, disciplined and driven. Plus, there is the bonus of wanting to create another goal after reaping the rewards of how proud you feel after completing it. If a specific goal didn’t work, reassess what went wrong and how to improve this round. Do you need someone to help you stay accountable until this becomes a habit for yourself? They say it takes 21 days for anything to form a strong habit. Have patience with yourself and keep going. My example is, “ I will go on stage by next year and compete for my first time by hiring my coach. I am following their program with fitness and nutrition because I want to prove that I can do anything I set my mind to by breaking the cycle of intergenerational trauma within my family. By being everything I wanted, from my mom as a child to being that mother to my children. So when my children look back on their childhood, they will see that it’s possible because their mom did it by chasing her dreams and goals of becoming the World Champion one day even if it has been 10 years. I will keep going because I love it and it makes me happy to feel the strength within myself and see the weights go up.”

The reason for using SMART Goals is to help you create a deep meaning to why you want this goal. To ponder on the steps of how you will be able to do it, what hasn’t worked in the past, and what can work this time around, see if you can find someone to help guide you to your goal if needed to hold you accountable. It shares clarity and focus. Commitment and motivation to keep going and keep trying. To help you track and stay accountable. It allows the opportunity to grow and get to know yourself on another level, which leads to self-development—continuous learning and evolving to improve every day. Whether pursuing personal or professional ambitions, embracing SMART Goals is an excellent way to get started for success and fulfillment.