The new year is a chance for a fresh start and a popular time to make changes and set new health and fitness goals. The key to meeting any goal is having a clear road map to success. At EXOS, we use a five-step behavior upgrade model that helps our clients reach their goals. When choosing your resolutions, use the steps below to ensure that you’re setting realistic, sustainable goals.
Step 1: Cultivate intent
You have to understand why you’re doing something in order to actually do it. When setting a goal, ask yourself why three times. For example, if the goal is to train four times a week, ask yourself why you want to train four times a week. If your answer is to lose weight and gain muscle, then ask yourself why you want to lose weight and gain muscle. You may answer that it’s so you can look better. Now ask yourself why you want to look better. Your answer might be so that you can feel good about yourself when you wake up in the morning. This line of questioning leads you to the core of your New Year’s resolution, or your intrinsic (internal) motivation, which is to feel good about yourself when you wake up in the morning. Research has shown that understanding your intrinsic motivation can increase your success.
Step 2: Establish a baseline
With your intent set, you need to set a baseline to set yourself up for success. If the goal is to train four times per week, figure out where you’re starting at. Internal and external factors will help determine your baseline. For example, internal factors include how much knowledge you have of what it takes to train four days a week, your preferred workout days, and any current or past feelings you have surrounding your goal. Externally you’ll need to understand how much time you need to set aside to reach your goal, what the cost is of reaching your goal, where you’ll train, and how to access the appropriate tools, people, and environment to ensure you remain encouraged and engaged.
Step 3: Create a game plan
With your intent and baseline clear, creating your game plan is that much easier. When creating your game plan think about setting smaller goals within your larger goal. If you start with only the big goal in mind, you’ll be more likely to fall off track. Think of your game plan like a stack of blocks. Each part of your game plan builds on the next part until you’ve reached your goal. These smaller goals also allow you to track your progress and leave room for you to re-evaluate your goal along the way.
Step 4: Make it sustainable
Sticking to your goal is about two things: self-determination and social support. With both of these in place, you’ll be much more likely to find success. As you work toward each milestone within your game plan, focus on mastering each step and connecting to your original intent. If you feel you’re getting off track, readjust. Research shows that having a social support system can increase sustainability by providing motivation and accountability. Your social support can be anything from a workout buddy to a role model to an online support forum. It’s about what works best for you.
Step 5: Maintain progress
Every few weeks, take a step back and give your journey a quick evaluation. If you realize you’ve consistently been meeting your goal of working out four times a week, then it’s time to move on to your next adventure. Without continued progression we can become ambivalent and find ourselves going nowhere. Starting a new adventure is as simple as going back to step one. Ask yourself what’s next, cultivate intent around your answer, and then it’s go time!
Jamie Lynn Davis View all posts by Jamie Lynn Davis