3 Steps for Setting Personal Goals

Written by Adam Whitlach
WRRFC Head Trainer

Ultimately, there is a large degree of responsibility that needs to be acknowledged when setting personal goals. It seems that, especially when it comes to health and fitness, goals tend to be whimsical and don’t hold up under pressure.

For instance, let’s say you’ve decided to lose 20 lbs; the first 5 lbs comes off with hardly any effort, but the next 5 is considerably more challenging—to the point where losing the remaining 10 lbs feels daunting. This is exactly the personal responsibility that I’m referring to. It shouldn’t matter that there is a sticking point. If your goals are important to you, there should be a sense of inevitability to them. Your mindset is everything. Instead of thinking ‘if I lose 20 lbs,’ you should think ‘when I lose 20 lbs.’

This brings me to my next point: your goals should apply only to you. This is not to say that you shouldn’t have supportive friends and family—you absolutely should. But you can’t rely exclusively on others for the goals you set for yourself. I can’t tell you how many people start their New Year’s resolution goals with a workout buddy, but when scheduling conflicts interfere, they both fall off the wagon. If their workout buddy can’t make it, they end up missing out as well. But if our goals are important enough to us, this should never happen.

Building off this idea, one sure-fire way to ensure that your goals maintain paramount importance is to make them specific. Again, I see far too many people set vague goals like “be healthier”, “be more fit,” or “lose some weight.” The problem is that these goals are not tangible, and therefore not attainable. Instead, I encourage people to set specific numbers and dates. Whether you achieve the goal or not, those numbers should be adjusted to set new objectives or to ensure that your previous goals are met before moving on. This framework develops into a cycle, which is beneficial for keeping you hungry to break down the next barrier.

There is one final element to setting goals and sticking to them that I find invaluable, and that is setting goals that you cannot achieve in the short term. We should all have something out on the horizon that we strive to achieve but is not attainable in a single week or month or even in a year, per se. For example, I have a powerlifting total of 1350 lbs, but I would love to get that number up over 1600 lbs. But this is not a process that can be accomplished in a few years; it might take me a decade to add 300 lbs to my total. Though that’s an incredibly long way out, it’s goals like this that continually encourage me to come back and work as hard as I can toward a meaningful objective. Otherwise, I know my improvement and progress will inevitably plateau. I would encourage you to set goals like this as well.

Trying to run a marathon, squeezing into a pair of jeans you haven’t worn since high school—whatever the case may be, always set the bar high, be specific, and base it on your own unique needs. After that, all you have to do is start the grind.


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