Setting goals is a fantastic way to motivate yourself, regardless of what it is you’re trying to achieve. Of course what you’re trying to achieve is a goal in itself but setting shorter goals gives you something that you can aim for in a shorter term and that then means you get the satisfaction of feeling as though you’re making progress as you tick things off of your list.
This is why ‘gamification’ works so well as a way to motivate yourself through challenges. This means turning an objective into a game that you can score yourself on. This feedback loop provides incentive and reward and helps you to measure your improvement.
The only problem? Not many people know how to set goals. Read on then and we’ll look at how setting the right goal can be the perfect tool to help you complete those challenges.
The Hallmarks of a Good Goal
How can a goal be either ‘good’ or ‘bad’?
Well, a bad goal would be something that was a) out of your control and b) too distant to be useful.
This is actually what most resolutions and weight loss goals look like. If your goal is to ‘lose 30lbs by 2017’ then your goal is both somewhat out of your control and too distant and vague. Losing 30lbs is an ambitious goal but even if you had a smaller target, you can’t guarantee you’ll ever do it. Different people respond differently to different training and that means you could work really hard for the next two years and not see any results. Most likely you’d give up long before then after becoming disheartened. Not much use!
Instead then, try a goal like this: “I will exercise three times a week for the next 3 months”. This is a goal that is now incredibly achievable because it’s so much nearer. At the same time, it’s a very binary thing that you can either complete or not – and it’s entirely down to you whether it happens.
If you focus on smaller, tightly controlled goals like this, then you’ll find that you get more of a feeling of reward and that the ‘overarching’ goals take care of themselves.
What are some other goals you could set up like this? Good examples might be to not eat X for a week, or to increase your running time by 2 minutes every training session for the next 20 sessions.