Goal-Setting: Four Steps To Achieving Your Goals in 2017

Goal setting to achieve success in health & fitness goals

With the new year looming we’re all on the brink of our new year’s resolutions but has anyone ever achieved what they set out to do at the start of the year? Goal setting may just be the answer. This post aims to give you some tools to achieve whatever you want right from the start…

Identify your goal

Before we start any journey we all have a rough idea of the end point, but let’s not be rough, let’s pinpoint exactly what we want, every last detail. Whether the goal is to do a full squat after 6 weeks of training or lose 5% body fat in a year, it needs to be true to you, with a timescale. If you need help, find someone who’s an expert in the field you’ve set your goal in and get them to advise on the details.

Do you have a big enough reason WHY?

So what’s the point? Why have you chosen this goal? Is your reason big enough to keep you motivated? What is your “WHY”? Many people will start a journey, set a great goal but aren’t honest with themselves about the reason why. The reason is already inside you, it’s your “why”.  Although its not always easy to bring out, there is a deep emotional reason for everyone to begin any new journey, so delve deep and find why you want what you’re asking of yourself and I promise you it will help in the long run.

For example let’s say your goal is to lose some weight, until you delve a bit deeper the goal itself will have little value and will be relatively easy to give up. If after a little soul-searching you discover that your reason for losing weight is that you don’t identify with the version of yourself that you’ve become over the past few years; by getting back to your leaner self you’ll feel better in your clothes, how you look in the mirror and happier all round… suddenly the goal has more meaning, more value and becomes more difficult to throw away as a whim.

Say your goal is to be able do a full squat… is it that is just seems like a cool thing to be able to do or is it that it will enable your to run, jump and play with your children and grandchildren enhancing your relationships with them? Once you commit to this goal it becomes about more than just you – you now have a responsibility to yourself and others to achieve it.

As soon as you add an emotional reason to your goal you will take ownership and accountability for it. Your personal trainer or coach will only see you for a few hours of the day, the rest is up to you so make sure you have a big enough WHY.

Make a Start

Getting started is often the biggest barrier to most people achieving their goals.  Often they’ll say they can’t find time.  Who are they kidding? What they mean is “there are other things in my life at the moment that are more important or urgent than my health goal”…and what that means is that they just didn’t have big enough WHY.  Lots of people will come up with wonderful goals and dreams of achieving great things this New Year but most of them will remain just that.  As someone once told me, there’s no substitute for action so, in the words of Richard Branson, say “screw it, let’s do it” and make a start.

Give yourself a pat on the back every now and then

Once you’re some way along the road, pause for a moment’s reflection: if you set yourself a goal, having dug deep inside yourself to find a big enough WHY, and stuck to your plan, at this point you will be in one of two situations:

  1. Congratulations, you’ve achieved your goal.  No doubt battled through the testing times, laughed through the successes and even helped a few January gymers along the way. You deserve a real pat on the back so well done.
  2. You may at the point at which you thought you’d have achieved your goal by now but you’re not quite there yet. Praise yourself! Take a second to stop looking forward and look at how far you’ve come and you’ll realise how much you’ve achieved. So you too deserve a healthy portion self-congratulation.

Our internal dialogue is fundamental to who we are, inside and out. Be kind to yourself and praise yourself for what you achieve rather than criticising yourself for what you don’t. This change from a negative to positive communication with yourself is crucial to achieving deep happiness and success in your health and fitness goals… it all starts in the mind.

So, now hopefully by now you’ve got your goal and your resonating reason why, you can start the journey.  You have a plan, a responsibility to yourself, and others, to stick to it, and you’re going to give yourself a pat on the back (not a piece of cake) when you start to see progress. What are you waiting for, get going!


Stewart Challis is a personal trainer with a wealth of experience and a BSc(Hons) in Sports and Exercise Science.  A former National sprinter himself, Stewart understands the steps necessary to achieve whatever goal you set out to achieve.  This experience, combined with his calm, considered nature and thoughtful attention to detail… read more


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