Most people will set a goal and then they do their best to make it happen, only to fail miserably. Goals only work when you do them right. On episode 564 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we discuss goal setting done right.
Let's Say Hello
[00:02:07.010] – Allan
Hey, Ras. How you doing?
[00:02:08.880] – Rachel
Good, Allan. How are you today? Oh, no.
[00:02:13.980] – Allan
Well, anyone that's on my email has kind of got a really deep dive update from me. And there's that drama from those emails is not over. It's continuing and it probably will continue for a while, but I'm working past that and looking forward. But we've just had so much weird stuff happen. We're having a drought in Bocas del Toro, which is happens, it's like the second time it's happened while we were there. So it happened about almost three and a half years ago. It's happening again. If we don't get rain, we don't have water. It's just that simple. We're on an island and it'll collect up water, but then when that water runs out, it's out. We've gone too long without rain. And the city was real cool about continuing to run the pumps after the water ran out, so they filled our tanks up with mud and we had to hire some guys to come out and clean the mud out. And then we bought some water. So we have some water that we bought and the city's trying to run around with trucks and fill people's tanks, but of course, everybody needs some water.
[00:03:15.160] – Allan
So it's literally just this thing and then the timing of it. We're headed to the States as we're recording this for my daughter's wedding, so we're not even there and someone's running it for us. And so it's kind of like, just put her in a spot, but we're going to do what we can to help her manage remotely. But it's just kind of one of those things you're like, okay, just keep kicking me, just keep kicking me. I'll get up. I'm going to keep getting up.
[00:03:38.660] – Rachel
Goodness gracious. What chaos.
[00:03:40.950] – Allan
Yeah. How are things up there?
[00:03:43.210] – Rachel
Less crazy than what you've got going on, but yeah, we're good. We're just closing out the year. Fall is going to turn to winter, and our race calendar is open, so just getting ready for the holidays is all we got. And Mike's surgery, of course. Yeah, everything's just fine.
[00:04:00.780] – Allan
Excellent. Excellent. All right, so you're ready to talk about goal setting?
[00:04:05.350] – Rachel
I'm calling this episode why Most People Fail at Their Health and Fitness Goals. Even if you know how to write a goal using the smart formula, which I'll talk about in a moment, it's very hard to write goals that are going to get you where you want to go unless you're very, very good at setting a goal that is going to work for you. So one of the main reasons that people really struggle with their health and fitness goals is they're just not setting the right goals. They're not thinking through the self awareness piece, and they're not really getting to know what actions are going to give them the best results. So there's always going to be that struggle, am I doing the right thing? But for many of us, we do know the right thing. We know exactly what we're supposed to do or what we need to do to meet our health and fitness goals. It could be, I know that carbs are not going to work for me if I want to lose weight, so I need to eat less carbs. We know that. Or I overeat because I have these little binge parties of snacks that I hit when I get home from work and I'm stressed.
I know I need to do less of that, or I know I haven't really been training as hard as I could or as much as I should, and therefore that's what I need to be doing. And so most of the time and I talk to clients all the time, they're like, I know what to do. I know what to do. I'm just not doing it consistently. Okay. So this won't necessarily solve that problem, because when you set a goal, what you do has to be consistent. That's how the goal becomes a habit in the doing of a goal that makes your habits, that makes your lifestyle. So just realize this won't fix the first problem of motivations and other things. But once you're ready to start setting some goals, you do need to set the right kind of goals. And that's where the Smart methodology or Smart acronym came from. So smart stands for specific, measurable attainable, relevant and time bound. But I propose that the reason people still suck at setting goals is they're missing one letter. So you can call these smart goals two A's or you can put an A at the end and call it a smart A goal.
Okay? Whichever way you want to do that acronym SMAART or Smart A, I'll leave that up to you. But there is an A that we need to consider when we're setting goals, and that's where most people go wrong. Okay? So if you're not familiar with the smart goals, I've covered this before, it's been quite a while. So I'm going to do a recap on that of what smart goals really are.
So a smart goal, the S stands for specifics. So with a goal, with a smart goal, you have to be very specific about what the goal is going to do, what you're trying to do. It needs to be a very specific thing. It can't be, I'm going to improve my health. Okay, that's so nebulous. What, are you going to have better blood markers? Are you going to lose weight? You're basically going to be able to breathe better, have a better Vo2 max? Are you going to avoid toxins and eat healthier food? So you know, you're building yourself with really good quality nutrients? Health is a nebulous thing. You can't just say, I'm going to improve my health, or you can't say, I'm going to improve my fitness.
What, are you going to get stronger? Are you going to get faster? Are you going to be able to run further? Again, fitness in itself can't be a goal because it's just not specific enough. You need something like, I'm going to improve my Vo2 max or I'm going to improve my power output or I'm going to improve my squat. And so you see at that point, you've basically found something that is more specific. So people will set those specific goals, I will lose weight.
And then it has to be measurable. Weight seems to be kind of an easy one, right? We're going to lose weight. I can measure strength by looking at my three rep max or one rep max on a lift. I can measure my increase in speed and endurance by finishing the 5k faster than I did before getting a personal record. So measurable is something where, you know, okay, this is how I'll know I succeeded at this goal. So I measure that goal. I'm like, okay, here's my measurement criteria and I'm specific with that of what I'm trying to measure. Okay? Attainable means it just needs to be within your reach, within reason.
If I said I'm going to get into the NFL. I'm 56 years old. Probably not going to happen. I don't know of any 56 year olds that came back to the game after just playing through high school and were suddenly these crazy athletes that were able to get back into the NFL or the NBA or any professional sport for that matter. And so that just isn't reasonable or attainable for me to think I can do those things.
So attainable is usually something that's just outside of what you have now, but you know, with reasonable effort over a period of time, you can get there. Okay? So no, you're not going to name an actor, actress or whatever that you think has really done a good job with the way they look and the way they are. You're not going to get there. But if you're looking to look better next month, next week, next quarter, you can do that and you can set some measurable things that you'll do to get there. But it has to be within the realm of reality. OK? Attainable.
Now relevant is a really important one that a lot of people skip over.
But I think this one is actually maybe of all the ones in the smart part, this one might be the most important. And the reason I say that is relevance is relevant to you. It's relevant to what you care about. And if you've followed me for any amount of time at all, you know that I'm a big proponent of you having a very big why and a vision. So goals should really just be mile markers to your vision. If it's outside of that, then you're going somewhere else and that's not good. So I'll give you a perfect example of this. I was doing CrossFit and I was enjoying it. And they got into a segment where they started really stressing strength. The coach programmer was really pushing on strength. And I love that. I mean, I love strength. It was only when they did the strength and then they were trying to do the dynamic stuff with the metcons that I started having some issues with CrossFit. But we would start doing deadlifts. And deadlifts are kind of like my Christmas, okay? So I walk in, I see that the water of the day, the workout of the day is deadlifts.
Man, I'm like, cool, this is going to be a good day. And so as I started going, I was like, I want to just increase my deadlift strength. I want to see how strong, actual strong I can get in the deadlift. I started doing that and one day I was doing that workout, doing the deadlifts, and I got really heavy and I surprised myself with how well I did on that lift that day. Now that was the first part of the workout. Later in the workout my back went out and I was in a ton of pain. And then it hit me. I let my ego get in front of me and I was focused on the deadlift and I was focused on that as a goal. But that had nothing to do with what I actually wanted out of my vision. Definitely didn't want to be sitting in the gym a mile from my house with my back killing me and I had to figure out a way to get home, walk home a mile with my back out. Not a cool day, not a cool day at all. But I only say that because that deadlift goal that I set for myself of just getting strong, strong on deadlift, it lacked so much of this.
I mean, it was specific. I wanted to get strong on the deadlift. It was measurable because how much did you lift? It was attainable because I was doing it. It wasn't relevant. It wasn't relevant to who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. It didn't jive with my vision. It was something else. So make sure that your goals are relevant to your vision and then they are the mile markers. When you hit that goal, you know you're moving in the right direction.
Okay, so the T and smart goals is called time bound. And basically time bound just means you set a time parameter for this vision. Could be 20 years from now, it could be 50 years from now. Time bound means it's next month or next quarter. It's literally like just that close. So you can say, I'm going to go to the gym at least 15 times this month and that's your goal. Okay. You could say, okay, by a certain date I'm going to reach a certain weight or a certain gene size or something. I'm going to fit in my skinny jeans by say, December 31. Okay, that's your goal.
And if you're doing the Crush the Holidays challenge, a doable goal, but at the same time it's time bound because you're saying by this date I will do this thing and so that time bound kind of puts a little emphasis on this. It's not like I will fit in these skinny jeans by whenever. There's no immediacy to it. There's no, okay, I got to get this done. It's just not there. So it does need to be time bound so that your measurement makes sense so that you're seeing the results in real time and again, if it's attainable within that time bound, perfect. Okay, you're good. So that's it for smart goals. It sounds really, really good. It sounds like it should work, right? You set the goal, you go and you charge and you start doing all this stuff and it doesn't happen. And you're like, what happened? Why did I fail at my health and fitness goal? And I can tell you the reason why most people fail at their health and fitness goals is they're setting their goals on the wrong things. They're setting their goals on the things they cannot control. So you can control what you do.
You can't control what you do, guys. Okay, so hear me out. I could cut out all bread, all carbs, and my goal is to lose 20 lbs during the month of November, cutting all that other stuff out. I'm going to do all this stuff, and I'm going to lose 20 lbs in November. Fine. My goal is to lose 20 lbs. But I can't make my body lose 20 lbs without action. So the goals are written about the outcome, not the actual actions that have to happen. So if I set my goal to lose 20 lbs and maybe it's great, I start doing a few things. I lose a pound the first week. I'm like, okay, that's good, but that's not anywhere close to 20. I mean, I just did 1 lb in a week. How am I going to do this? And maybe the second week, I lose five. I'm like, oh, great. Now I'm at 6 lbs, but I'm almost halfway through the month, so this can get tough. And then maybe I lose another 6 lbs. I'm like, okay, this is great. I'm 13 lbs down. I got seven to go for this last week. I'm going to push through, and I don't make it.
I failed at my goal. Now, I could be very happy that I lost a 17 lbs or 15 lbs or whatever, or maybe that last week I just crashed and I didn't lose any weight or heaven forbid, I put weight on. But the point being is you just can't make certain things happen because there's biological things that you don't have control over.
So the last letter in the smart goals or the smart A goals is action. What are the actions that you intend to do? And then it puts all the pieces in place. So a specific goal, if you want to lose weight and you realize it's the carbohydrates are your worst enemy, then a specific goal would be I'm going to limit my carbohydrates to 25 grams net so I can have plenty of fiber, and that doesn't bother me. So net grams of carbs, 25 grams, that's specific. It's measurable because I can look at the foods I'm eating. I can give an estimation. And so therefore, I know each day this is the number of grams of net carbohydrates I probably ate. It's attainable predominantly because I know I've done it before. It might be hard, but it's attainable.
People are doing it every day. So it's not like I'm doing something crazy. That's not in the realm of possibility. I can't do it if I put my mind to it. Relevant. Okay. I know that the carbs have caused me issues in the past, and so from a relevance perspective, I know they're going to help me lose weight. So if my intention is to lose weight, because my vision is for me to weigh less, to have more energy, all these other things, then I know this is a stepping stone in that direction. This is a mile marker. So this is really relevant to where I want to go. If I'm losing weight doing this, then it is definitely sending me in the direction I want to be, which is to weigh less and be healthier. Okay. It's time bound. I'm like, okay, every day for a month, I'm going to be like this and see what happens. Okay. Because I can control my actions. I can't control the outcome. Okay. But it's time bound. I'm going to try this way of eating for 30 days and see what happens. And again, all these circles around the fact that my goals are actions, actions I can control.
They're not outcomes that I don't control. So I'm rewriting this acronym to be SMAART or SMART A. Okay. And I want you to remember that when you set your goals, they need to be smart goals, but they need to be actions first. Things you can control. Okay. So as a general recap, I think it's pretty clear there are things that are outside your control. There are things that you just can't do. They're not going to happen. But for the things you know you can do and you want to do and you want to make sure you stay on task, set smart goals, specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time bound actions that you know you can do and you'll be successful.
Post show with Rachel.
[00:17:45.710] – Allan
Welcome back, Ras.
[00:17:47.320] – Rachel
Hey, Allan. This is really timely and I'm sure you planned it this way, but this is the time of year to start talking about goals. And I love that you've added action as a new component to determining what your goals are.
[00:18:00.730] – Allan
Yeah as we go into the end of the year, a lot of people are looking at their weight and their health and they're saying, okay, this is the year. 2023 is going to be my year.
[00:18:08.970] – Rachel
[00:18:09.340] – Allan
And then in their head, they immediately go to the things that we always think about. And a lot of times that's just weight loss. And so they'll say, okay, over this next year, I'm going to lose 25 lbs.
[00:18:22.090] – Rachel
[00:18:22.540] – Allan
And the problem with that is that's not really 100% within their control. And we all know that we ate a certain way when we're younger. We did a diet and it worked. And then now we do that same diet and it's not working. I don't understand. The diet worked before and it's not working now. And the reality of it is you can't control your weight. It's not something you can just set and it happened. You've got to do certain actions. And so most people will set what I call objective goals, like what they want, the outcome of the work that they do. They want that outcome. But that's not how this works. Like, if you are in a business, you say, okay, what do we want to do? Well, we want to double our revenue. Okay. You're not buying your own stuff, so who's going to do that? Okay, so it's like, okay, we're going to have to advertise more. We may rise our prices. You see how there's actions that you can take that will help maybe make your revenue go up? Well, this is no different. You can't control your weight, but what you can't control is your actions.
[00:19:21.880] – Allan
So you can say, okay, I'm going to stop drinking as much alcohol. That's an action within your control.
[00:19:28.450] – Rachel
[00:19:29.260] – Allan
So you set the goal. I'm going to have only two glasses of wine on Friday and Saturday nights. That's four total glasses of wine for the week. And that's your new goal. That's what you're charging for. And I'm going to do this for the whole month of November. You could sit there and say like that, you could say, I'm going to make sure I get my 10,000 steps or I complete my circles on my Apple Watch every single day. It's specific. You're hitting that mark. It's measurable. Because again, you got the number, you got the circle full. It's actionable. I mean, it's attainable because you've probably done that many steps or done that before. And it's relevant because, you know, increasing your activity level is one of the things that you'll be told that you should do if you want to lose weight. So you're doing all the right things, and it's time-bound because you said for this month or by this time. And so you say you're going to do those things. You might say, I'm going to go to the gym at least 15 times next month. Okay. And you just sit there and start ticking them off.
[00:20:33.260] – Allan
Two, three, four, all the way to 15. And you're successful at your goal because it was in your control. So making them action. I said the word action, but really, maybe a better word would be actionable. It's something you can do. It's not the outcome that you want.
[00:20:49.890] – Rachel
Sure, that sounds great.
[00:20:51.690] – Allan
And that's really where all this comes down. And why I want to add that A to it is because people will write the goal, I'm going to lose 25 lbs, and then the weight's not coming off the scale. And it's so demotivating because you just don't feel like you have control. It's like, I know what to do, but it's not working. But the thing is, if you set goals to be consistent in the doing, your chances of it happening just went up astronomically.
[00:21:17.140] – Rachel
Yes, you mentioned my other favorite word, consistency. And you got to keep at it, doing something every day to improve your chances of reaching your goal.
[00:21:26.770] – Allan
And that's the core of it. And if you tune in next week, I'm going to talk about some things that I think will blend right into this conversation where you're like, oh, wow, now I get it. Now I understand why this weight is not in my control, but my actions are, and that's why this is so important. So stay tuned for next week. It's a very interesting conversation, and I know you're going to get a lot out of it. If you like this episode, you definitely want to listen next week. So anything else you want to cover before we go?
[00:21:55.030] – Rachel
No, this is great. Looking forward to next week already.
[00:21:57.700] – Allan
All right, we'll talk to you soon.
[00:21:59.730] – Rachel
[00:22:00.400] – Allan
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