You may publish this article in your newsletter, on your web site, or other publications, so long as article’s content is not altered and resource box is included. Add byline and active link. Notification of use of this article is appreciated, but not required. Total word count included resource box is 1340.
A goal is result or achievement toward which effort is directed. Without setting goals in exercise or nutrition, there is far less value and purposeful direction; and they need to be measurable and realistic. For example, a thin teenager weighing 120 pounds wishing to weight 220-pounds of muscle is both specific and measurable. However, he cannot hope to achieve such a physique, especially not soon and probably not without growth-enhancing drugs. Therefore, in this instance, goal to gain 100 pounds of muscle is specific, it is measurable, but it is unrealistic.
Non-measurable goals, such as "I want to lose fat and get lean," will never be realized since term "lean" is subjective with no objective measurement. What is lean to one person may not be lean to another... or perhaps it is "too lean". Once individual obtains a supposed state of leanness, will that person know that he has achieved that goal or will his perception of what he thinks is "lean" change because of higher standards and greater expectations? On other hand, if a trainee indicated that he wants to reduce body fat to a level of ten percent, then he has a measurable goal – one that can be quantified.
Next, to achieve goals better, trainees must provide a measurement and do so in smallest amount necessary and within reason relative to past accomplishments. Don't aim for something greater than you could ever have achieved in past. Moreover, more distant goal, and smaller increments, more likely success of obtaining goal. But it should be noted that a goal must require some degree of effort and challenge. If goal is too small or easy to obtain, there is little incentive or sense of accomplishment or pride.
Goals can be measured in terms of outcome and performance. An outcome goal refers to that which a person is aiming to achieve, such as lifting five pounds more in bench press next workout or a far greater weight over course of several months. There is little flexibility in this type of goal – either it is achieved or it is not. Performance goals refer to process through which a person achieves those goals, including both short- and long-term. Performance goals are much more flexible, and allows a person to reorganize a strategy from day to day in order to meet outcome goal(s). Performance goals are associated with less anxiety, since there is flexibility and, as a result, should be emphasized in an exercise and nutrition program. It can be upsetting not to achieve an outcome goal, but if all steps leading up to outcome were done to best of your ability, it is easy to maintain motivation in preparing for next outcome goal.
When determining a long-term goal, a strategy of immediate, short-term goals (performance goals) must be considered. For example, if you desire a ten-pound increase on best bench press, how will you get there? This is accomplished by creating a workout schedule, a long-term plan of increasing "x" pounds/ounces to bar each workout until you achieve extra ten pounds. The plan may need to be reevaluated then re-designed – particularly if you fail to increase weight by "x" pounds/ounces during one of workouts, and falling short in end. It could be further stated that creating a goal strategy in exercise is very similar to a marketing or business plan in that goals may be established, but they may also need reformulating on a regular basis to reflect current facts of finance, economy, sales, customer satisfaction, etc.
GOAL SETTING PRINCIPLES AND STRATEGY
Set Specific Goals. The goal must be measurable, such as "bench press 275 pounds" by a certain date rather than "increase bench press" and without a concrete date in mind.