The Plan To Achieve Your Fitness Goals

The Plan To Achieve Your Fitness Goals

*This is part 1 of a 2 part series
Most people fail to achieve their fitness goals because they do not understand how to set themselves up for success. They fail to understand that burst of motivation that gets them started quickly wanes. This is why gyms are full in January each year and by early February that once motivated crowd has thinned and only the regular gym goers are left.

The motivated crowded started with great intentions, knowing they wanted to lose weight and get healthy, so they joined a gym and removed all the unhealthy food from their kitchen. The next morning they got up early, worked out, drank a protein shake for breakfast, and felt great about themselves (as they should). But they only make it to the gym a few more times in the following weeks and a month in they have quit going altogether. Most of their healthy food spoils as they opt for eating out over eating healthy. This is an all too come occurrence.

Instead, those early bursts of motivation should be focused on building a plan. The plan should be built around the GBF success formula:
Success Formula: “Achieving goals is the result habits built on an executable plan that adapts over time.”

For Part 1 of this 2 Part series, we will breakdown the first part and last part of the formula - “achieving goals” and “executable plans that adapt over time.” In Part 2, we dive deep into habits and how building habits are the biggest factor in accomplishing goals.

The key to setting a fitness goal is writing down a simple, one sentence goal that allows for continuous growth. We at GBF believe fitness is a life long pursuit which is why it is important to have a goal that stays out in front of you and keeps you working towards. Here are some tips on setting a fitness goal.

  • An entire thesis is not necessary when setting a goal and can become a hinderance over time because it feels so large and looming. Something as simple as “I will workout 4 times per week” is a great goal.
  • Read the last sentence of the bullet point above again. Notice “I will work out 4 times per week” has no endpoint built into it. This allows the plan to always stay in front of you, keeping you working towards it. If your goal is to lose five pounds, what happens when you lose those five pounds? For a lot of people, reaching the goal becomes an endpoint. If you are a sports fan, I’m sure you have heard a former professional player say “Once I made it pro, I thought I had it made and didn’t work as hard as I did to get there.” These are typically the guys who end up being labeled a bust at the end of their careers.
  • When it comes to fitness, demotivation hits quickly if your goal is overly focused and finite. For example, you want to lose 10 pounds and after 2 weeks of going to gym every day, you weigh yourself only to find you’ve lost 1 pound. Most people quit right then. However if your goal was to work out every day, you accomplished it and the 1 pound of weight lost is less impactful to your psyche.
  • Keep the goal realistic. Losing forty pounds in two weeks isn’t realistic, just like going to the gym twice a day isn’t realistic for most people. However, going to the gym 4 times per week or walking for 20 minutes every morning is realistic.

Now that you have a clear understanding of how to set goals. Let’s focus on making an executable plan that adapts over time:

Executable Plans That Adapt Over Time:
Executable plans allow for you to remove as many barriers as possible that could keep you from achieving your goal. Barriers describe both physical barriers like hours you are at work AND mental barriers which are the moments you are thinking about going to the gym but have the ability to talk yourself out of it. Think through an average day and everything that stands between you and a finished workout. Once you take time to think through it, you will realize there are lots of barriers in your way each day which is why accounting for them is so important. Here are some ideas for eliminating barriers and building an executable plan:

  • Reduce the amount of decisions you need. Having to make 5 or 6 decisions every day about going to the gym gives you 5 or 6 opportunities to talk yourself out of going.
  • Set your gym clothes out the night before.
  • Set a time everyday to workout, eliminating the need to schedule time each day.
  • Schedule rest days each week around your work or personal obligations
  • Have a workout routine ( # of reps, # of sets, exercise) written out or memorized before you go to the gym
  • Find a friend to work out with. For a lot of people the accountability to someone beyond themselves can be very helpful.
  • Identify workouts or exercises you enjoy and do them more often (while ensuring they are still challenging). Forcing yourself to slog through a workout you hate every day isn’t a recipe for success. Talking yourself out of a workout of workout you hate is easy. If you enjoy running and hate lifting, then run 3 times a week and do one full body weight training workout per week.

With your plan laid out, ensure you adapt over time as your life changes. If you change jobs and have longer commute, you may have to change to a gym closer to work instead of home. As you get stronger, you need to adjust by trying new exercises or adding weight to continue challenging your yourself. Maybe that 20 minute walk every morning turns into 30 minutes a day or your 135 pound bench press turns into 145 pounds as you get stronger.

Final Thoughts:
Change is constant as the saying goes, so be flexible and remember to keep things simple, manageable, and built with easy barriers to entry.

Part 2: Unlocking the power of habits (coming soon)

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