“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ~Unknown
It’s easy to dream and wish, but setting a goal involves some serious planning and dedication.
Huge goals become easier to accomplish when broken down into smaller chunks for daily tracking.
Set a Specific Goal
When I set a goal, I find that the best way to achieve it is to get very clear on what I would like my end result to be, and realistic about when I believe I can meet this result.
Here is an example: By this time next year, I would like to have lost 40 pounds.
Set Quarterly Benchmarks
The next step is to break it out into quarterly chunks (it’s less overwhelming . . . less “whelming”??).
Anyway . . . this means losing 10 pounds every 3 months, and helps to provide benchmarks to track your progress. If, after 6 months I’ve only lost 12 pounds, it may be time to re-evaluate the goal.
Determine Daily Steps
Finally, I determine what steps need to be taken daily in order to ensure I am maintaining consistent progress toward my overall goal.
If I want to lose 40 pounds in one year, each day I should be:
- Consuming fewer calories than I am burning
- Exercising at least 20 minutes
- Drinking half my body weight in ounces
Track By Hand
Once the goal is set and broken down to daily activities, I need to track these activities. Typically, the daily steps are easy to do, and easy to forget. Therefore, it is easy to fall into a pattern of allowing yourself a “day off” here or there without realizing that those days off are exceeding the “days on.”
If you are tracking it on paper, in a planner or in a journal, it’s right there to see in black and white. Plus, there is added accountability with writing it on paper.
I’ve used several different apps, and while they are very convenient, they also make it easy to skip adding in that brownie you ate (even though you knew you’d be having a treat later in the day).
Ultimately when using apps, I didn’t wind up with a full understanding of how the calculations work together, either. I loved the apps, but handwriting my calories, nutrition, exercise and water consumption has been more effective for me.
Once you’ve committed to a specific goal, it becomes easier to imagine reaching it if it’s broken down into smaller, quarterly goals. After that, you can see the daily steps that need to be taken to reach those small goals.
When you know the daily steps, tracking them by hand is the best way to be sure that you are staying the course and creating new habits. For some help along the way, you can download my free fitness tracker here.
Let me know in the comments how it works with your plan!