Turn Your Bad Fitness Goals Into Good Fitness Goals
We talk a lot about fitness goals around here, but did you know there is such a thing as a bad fitness goal? Not all goals are created equal, and there should be some thought and effort placed into the goals you set for your fitness journey.
In order to actually achieve your health and fitness goals, you’ll need a powerful formula to organize your efforts and turn any “bad” fitness goals into good ones. Lucky for you, that’s exactly what we’ll be covering in this post!
What Are Your Fitness Goals?
Any effort to get into shape starts with the question: What are your health and fitness goals?
That seems like an easy enough question. Most people will reply with things like wanting to lose ten pounds, wanting to lose weight for their wedding, wanting to build muscle, or wanting a better-looking body.
While these may sound like standard answers, these types of goals are not the best kinds to set. Properly set goals provide a blueprint that defines exactly how to build the skills you need to get the results you want, and the actions you can take to reach them.
“Good” goals allow you to easily outline a plan for getting things done. When you do your goals right, you feel ready, willing, and capable of making your fitness dreams come true. When you don’t know how to set good goals, you can feel lost, confused, and overwhelmed. That’s why we think it’s critical to allocate enough time to help our clients define and set the right type of goals before we get into any training plans.
“Outcome Goals” vs. “Process Goals”
Generally, when asked about their fitness goals, most people will respond with what’s called “outcome goals.” An outcome goal has the result you would like to achieve as the target. For example, “I will lose ten pounds by July 1st” is an outcome goal.
A process goal uses as the target the actions or processes you will need to repeatedly follow to achieve the desired result. An example would be, “I will reduce the number of calories that I eat each day by 500.” The first goal has the desired ten pounds lost as the target whereas the second goal focuses on the process that will enable the person to lose those ten pounds.
You need clearly defined outcome goals to pinpoint your end destination. There should be no question as to what you want to achieve. The clearer your outcome goal, the more likely you are to succeed.
But you also need to define the action steps required to reach your outcome goals. Once you have identified where you want to go, the next step is to adopt a set of habits, behaviors, and routines that will lead you to your destination when performed consistently.
When creating the Action Plan for the previously mentioned goal: “I will lose ten pounds by July 1st,” the first action item can be the process goal we also previously brought up: “I will reduce the number of calories that I eat each day by 500.” A second action item could be: “I will exercise 30 minutes per day, five days per week.” You can also add non-exercise related habits to your Action Plan, such as “I will add a fruit or vegetable to every meal,” or “I will skip dessert when I eat out.”
By focusing on the action steps (process goals) instead of only focusing on the end result (outcome goal), you’ll find yourself naturally progressing toward the goal. It’s like following navigation directions on your Maps app: the destination is necessary to the process, but once entered, you find yourself only focusing on the next steps.
Which is Better?
But the question remains, which is better, outcome goals or process goals? Is it better to concentrate on outcome goals or process goals? The truth is, both are critical for success.
One without the other rarely works, as outcome goals and process goals are two sides of the same coin.
Think of it this way. If you were to plan a vacation, you would first need to decide exactly where you want to go (outcome goal). Then, you would need to determine how you’re going to get there and what you’d need to pack (process goals). If you focus solely on your destination without planning your method of transportation, time may pass with you still in the exact same place at home. If you only focus on your transportation and packing list without setting your end destination, you might spend a lot of time and energy traveling aimlessly getting nowhere, or pack the wrong items for where you end up (like bringing coats to the beach or swimsuits to the mountains!).
To eliminate these issues, it’s important to know both your end destination and the appropriate actions to take to get there. You’ll also want to do quick check-ins along the way to track your progress and make sure you’re still heading in the right direction.