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Realistic Goal Setting and Perspective

It is the New Year and resolutions are upon us. We all will set some type of goal or another, with various degrees of success. To the point, goal setting is important. It gives us direction, but also gives us pride and makes us feel good when we achieve those goals. What is more important though is realistic goal setting and keeping those goals in perspective. If we can manage to do this, we are setting ourselves up for success.

Let’s start with being realistic. Some of us can set some unattainable goals. We have the time, motivation and base of skills to support our journey, but this is not for everyone. Setting unrealistic goals can also work to set us up for failure. Realistic goals are ones which can, and are likely to be achieved. Starting with a short term target is where most of us will gain the largest benefit. If we set short term, realistic and attainable goals we will get positive feedback very quickly. These goals should always reflect your injury status, available time, prior level of fitness and health status. Can’t touch your toes? Have difficulty standing on one foot? Achieve these basic things first. Haven’t been active in weeks? Make a point of just being active, doing anything, twice a week. You will start to notice how good it makes you feel and how motivating it can be to have success even with the smallest things.

I learned a goal setting model. It is called the SMART principle. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Though basic, this covers all the things that make the biggest difference when setting goals, especially being realistic. However, what this model is missing is a reference to keeping those goals in perspective.

For example, all of the SMART criteria could be met in a strength athlete who has set the goal to get a 315 pound dead lift, but over the last two weeks he has had a cold, which has led to poor sleep and his boss has thrown extra shifts his way. In two weeks he has had three workouts. This athlete’s life just got busy. Not making progress on his dead lift shouldn’t stress him out. Instead he needs to be able to keep it in perspective and realize that sometimes, life happens. Will this athlete quit his job to work on his dead lift? No. Can he control the situation he is in? No. Should he worry about something he cannot control? No. When things calm down, he can resume his training. The fact that he was making progress and is still working towards a target is the important part here.

My point is this; fitness is important, but it is only a part of living a healthy and happy life. Keeping your goals in perspective, especially those fitness goals, allows you to enjoy the ride of working towards achieving them. It also lets you keep them in balance with the rest of your life.

To sum it up, goals are important. But please, be easy on yourself, be realistic with yourself and don’t have unrealistic expectations – this helps to accomplish things and accomplishments make us feel good and drive us to set more (increasingly impressive) goals!

If your goals are not working for you, or you’re frustrated or stuck, the staff at Concept of Movement are always more than happy to help you evaluate and reset your goals so that together we can help you progress towards whatever objective you choose.

So go set yourself some goals and get at them. But please, keep them in perspective!

Article Written By:

Brandon Arbour, B.Sc., CSCS, MCT
Bachelor of Science – Kinesiology
Certified Strength and Condition Specialist
MovNat Certified Trainer