When working with Bootcamp Participants and Personal Training Clients, I always encourage them to have a Goal or Target that they want to achieve by the end of the course or block of sessions. On their Lifestyle/Nutrition Diary there’s a blank space to put that goal in writing. For too many clients, that space stays blank.
This is the equivalent of setting off on a journey in a foreign country without a map or Sat Nav: you MIGHT get to your destination eventually, but the chances are that it will take longer and will be a very frustrating journey. Likewise without a goal to act as your Fitness Sat Nav, you will not reach your potential as quickly as possible.
When they have their first consultation with me, most female clients tell me that they want to “lose weight” or “tone up” and the lads usually want to “bulk up” the upper body. While there’s nothing wrong with either of these as general guidelines, they are just a bit vague to be really effective. In order to keep focussed on a goal we want to keep it S.M.A.R.T. This means that it will be:
Specific: Decide EXACTLY what you want. The more specific the goal, the easier it is to concentrate on and therefore to achieve.
Measurable: Whatever your goal is, you want to be able to measure your progress towards it and also know when you’ve arrived.
Achievable: Make it something that is within your control and does not depend on other people or circumstances.
Realistic: While we don’t want to make your goal too easy, there’s no point aiming to do something that is practically impossible. Simply aim for something that challenges your abilities and will-power.
Time-Based: If you don’t set a date by which time you will have achieved your target, it has no urgency and it will be put on the long finger.
In terms of a weight-loss programme this would look like the following: “Drop a dress size (Specific and Measurable) by training 4 times a week and reducing the amount of processed food in my diet (Specific, Achievable and Realistic) by 1st January 2012 (Realistic, Time-Based). This formula can be applied successfully to all aspects of health and fitness and indeed to other areas of your life.
By writing your goals down and reading them first thing in the morning and last thing at night and also vividly imagining what you need to do to achieve them, you will greatly improve your chances of success as you “programme” your mind to be self-motivating.