Continued from page 1
Set Difficult and Realistic Goals. The goal must be within reach, yet challenging in order to increase mental arousal and motivation. Easy goals will not be motivating, yet goals that are nearly impossible will hinder motivation for future workouts. Goals must reflect your genetic ability accurately; as strength and size increases, ability to match past goals will diminish.
Establish Short-term Goals. Each main goal must consist of sub-goals or short-term goals. Before a person can increase chest measurement by an inch, or bench-press an additional 50 pounds, he must progress in smaller amounts. Being able to see patterns in those amounts (your results over a particular period of time), or lack thereof, provides valuable data and feedback in your ability to achieve long-term goals during a specific time frame. Not being able to achieve short-term goals provides further information as to what is not working and need for a new plan of short-term goals in order to achieve long-term goal.
Develop Goal-Achievement Strategies. A trainee cannot achieve short- or long-term goals without knowing how he or she eventually will get there. In order to lose an inch off waist, you must first lose a quarter-inch, then a half-inch, etc., and each step requires a certain amount of exercise and a proper eating plan. These aspects determine your daily or immediate goals.
Create Backup Plans of Action. What happens if a short-term goal is not reached? If something goes wrong, is it probable that long-term goal will be reached? It will be difficult to get back on track if a backup plan of action is not established to correct any minor setbacks. If goal is to lose a quarter-inch off waist during first month, and trainee only lost one-eighth inch, chances of losing a quarter-inch during next phase of strategy is highly unlikely (unless exercise is increased and eating is decreased). It will be necessary to rethink strategy and decide what must be done in order to get back on track. But rather than waiting for possibility of failure, strategize ahead of time and anticipate failure or what could go wrong.
Individual Personality Considerations. Prior to establishing goals, personality must be considered. Is person a high-achiever or a low-achiever? Does person have commitment and can he or she maintain that commitment? Can person sustain motivation to reach a difficult goal that may be a year away while paying attention to diet and intense exercise during that time on a daily/weekly basis? Does person have maturity and intellect to work through any problems leading to each goal? How does individual accept failure – as a learning experience or another "nail in coffin" of defeat?
Provide for Goal Evaluation. At end of each short- and long-term goal, evaluate performance, dedication, motivation, and well you did to achieve (or surpass) your goals. From this information it will be easier to establish future goals, and to make goals easier or more challenging, by learning from mistakes, failures, and successes. Also, evaluate backup plans of action and if any of those steps needed to be implemented, your problem-solving skills, what went right, what went wrong, and any factors that were not considered.
Provide Goal Support. Share goals with others, such as a loved one, friends, a mentor, or associates on Internet. Telling people about what you intend to achieve increases support and keeps you on path to prove your ability rather than experiencing humiliation or embarrassment from backing down when going gets tough. Regular updates on a long-term goal, and how each short-term goal is proceeding will keep you in check and sustain motivation.
Brian D. Johnston is the Director of Education and President of the I.A.R.T. fitness certification and education institute. He has written over 12 books and is a contributing author to the Merck Medical Manual. An international lecturer, Mr. Johnston wears many hats in the fitness and health industries, and can be reached at info@ExerciseCertification.com. Visit his site at www.ExerciseCertification.com for more free articles.