By Naomi Rabon, NW Fitness Team Trainer
Ahhh, the holidays. So many things come to mind this time of year: friends, family, fellowship and…food!
Being in the fitness industry, the holidays is also the time when many people start thinking about their goals for the upcoming year (although most of you set and re-set goals all year ‘round, right?)
Setting goals can be a wonderful, healthy thing to do. Most of the time, we think of someone setting goals and working to achieve them as a positive thing. You don’t often hear of someone setting a goal and think “Oh, man, she/he really shouldn’t set that goal.” Especially as a trainer and coach, you would think we would encourage our clients to set high goals and not discourage them from doing so.
This is where it gets a little tricky, and where a coach needs to be able to play “matchmaker” in a sense. Just as with creating a nutrition program and workout schedule that is right for a client’s needs, lifestyle and desired outcome, setting goals also have to “match up” with your needs, lifestyle and desired outcome.
For example, let’s say your goal is to lose 25 pounds in 12 weeks, which is 2 pounds per week. Hypothetically speaking, let’s say that you started a fitness program four months ago (16 weeks) with two weight training sessions per week and three cardio sessions per week. You haven’t always been able to get all your workouts in due to other responsibilities and haven’t stuck to your nutrition program 100% because of travel, holidays and just wanting a mental break from dieting sometimes. In 16 weeks, you’ve lost 12 pounds, which is 1.3 pounds per week.
Realistically, would it be a good idea to set a goal of losing more weight in less time? It is possible to reach that goal, yes, but in my opinion, the answer is no. That is not a good goal match, per se, if someone hasn’t been able – for whatever reason – to complete all workouts and nutrition of the current fitness program.
THE BACKLASH OF UNREALISTIC GOALS
It could cause unhealthy eating behavior, sacrificing other priorities too much and even cause a backslide in the opposite direction if the increased demands to reach that goal are too intense and start taking a toll.
In this scenario, setting a goal of losing 25 pounds in 12 weeks is probably not the right kind of focus, and a mismatch for healthy goal chemistry. The best thing to do is make a goal of completing all workouts every week and sticking to the meal plan 99% to see if 2 pounds per week is even attainable for a few weeks.
SET REALISTC BUT CHALLENGING GOALS
You want goals to be challenging but realistically attainable. You want to have to work hard and push your limits, but not set yourself up for inevitable failure by setting goals that may be well out of your reach. Here are 5 things to keep in mind when setting your goals.
1. Why do you want to achieve this goal? Is it for health reasons? Self-confidence? Feeling of accomplishment? The challenge of pursuing and achieving this goal? Do you think it will bring you happiness and joy, or fill a void in your life? Answer yourself honestly.
2. What do you have to do to achieve this goal? Realistically, what does a day look like for you, or a week or month when incorporating all the activities, time and financial commitments, energy and other things in your daily life on top of what you are already doing right now to achieve your desired goal?
3. What do you have to sacrifice in order to achieve this goal? In order to achieve a goal, you have to not only add things like workouts, training sessions, meal prep, etc., to your life, but you may also have to sacrifice things as well, for example movie butter popcorn, indulgent meals at restaurants, possibly adult beverages, cutting an hour from sleep in the morning to work out, missing out on family events, etc. How realistic are the sacrifices you’d potentially have to make to achieve a desired goal?
4. Is this goal a temporary fix, or a maintainable, long-term solution? In other words, is this a goal you hope to maintain for life, such as changing your body composition for the rest of your life, or temporarily changing your body composition for a specific event, such as a vacation, a competition, a photoshoot, etc? If you are trying to change your body composition for life, the habits you incorporate should be permanent habits you can realistically maintain versus a temporary body composition goal, such as getting in shape for a class reunion, for example.
5. Will achieving this goal make you a better version of who you are? Or will the pursuit of it take away from who you are as a person? It can do either, if you let it, and depending on how you approach your goal. This is a really good question to think long and hard about.
If you are miserable pursuing your goals, or you have to sacrifice too much of yourself and your life to attain these goals, are they really the right goals for you?
ABOUT NAOMI RABON
One of the trainers on Nicole’s elite NW Fitness Training Team, Naomi is a certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She is a NPC Figure competitor who has been involved in the health and fitness industry for over 12 years.