8 Guidelines for Successful Goal Setting

This is how you accomplish goals that are aligned with your priorities and consistent with the things that are most important to you.

November 23, 2016
goal setting

Adapted from PUSH

The vital difference between dreamers and achievers boils down to some very basic, simple habits. People with clear, written-out goals who consistently honor their defined priorities tend to get results faster than others and enjoy a greater level of happiness and long-term success in all areas of life. Yet most of us have never been formally taught a system of goal setting and mastery that can be applied to health and fitness.

More: The 3 Most Important Questions to Help Clarify Your Goal

By learning the most effective ways to set and attain your goals, you will be able to achieve your health and fitness goals faster than you ever dreamed possible and reduce a major amount of stress. More important, your results will last a lifetime.

You're just about ready to set your goals—get that pencil ready! But before you start, I want to give you some guidelines that will help you complete the homework below.

woman working out
Your goals should mesh with your priorities

All of them. Ask yourself if the goal could compromise one or all of your priorities. If so, is there a way to accomplish nearly the same result in a creative way that doesn't compromise your priorities.

More: 10 Healthy Rules for a Pain-Free Life

Your goals should be personal and professional

Consider relationships, finances, health, faith, hobbies, habits, leisure pursuits, anything that comes to mind. The sky's the limit.

mountain climbing
Your goals should take you out of your comfort zone

Don't list goals you already know you've achieved or that you're well on your way to achieving. No easy stuff. Aim for 10 goals that are an uncomfortable stretch but in the realm of possibilities.

More: How to Meet Your Fitness Goals on a Budget

happy woman with laptop
If you get stuck, complete this sentence

When it seems you've run out of ideas and you need inspiration, use the following statement, "In the next 12 months, it would be so crazy cool if ____________________."

woman writing in notebook
Write your goals in the present sense

Write your goals as if they have already been achieved, speaking in the first person and with as much detail as possible, such as "I am a New York Times best-selling author."

More: 7 Fitness Fails Sabotaging Your Goals

measuring waist
Include goals that push you to make personal change

Goals can address areas of personal improvement, such as: "I am seeking treatment for my eating disorder and will weigh myself only once a month."

Include at least one financial goal

Most everything you want in life, from having more time off, paying off your home, and helping others to having more time for exercise, is made easier with financial means. Money issues are one of the top causes of personal stress, which you already know may be the number- one thing standing between you and your new lean body. Therefore, at least one of your goals needs to relate to finances.

More: The 5-Step Money-Relationship Healing Process

workout smoothie
List one health goal with a very specific measure

For example, "I have lost over 40 pounds and I have cut my body fat in half." A downloadable PDF version of this form is available free for you to download. Download this form and give it to the important people in your life to set some goals with you! You can also go directly to the digital version so that it can be done from your smartphone.

Now it is time to go all out and do some goal setting!

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