health goalsWhen I asked you last week on Instagram, 84% of you said you do (or want to!) set New Year’s Resolutions.  What a bunch of go-getters you are – I love that!  Still, 80% of Resolutions are trashed by the beginning of February (which is part of the reason I prefer the term “goals” to “resolutions” … it seems much longer-lasting, and expresses more commitment!).  Today, I’ll talk about one major thing that I think holds people back from making their goals reality.health goals

First, you should know that I love setting goals.  Prioritizing what’s most important to me, visualizing how I’ll feel when I achieve the goal, and especially planning out each action step to get to the goal, are all super fun for me.  You should see the yearly, monthly, and weekly goals I set for my business … and don’t even get me started about the level of detail I go to when planning my calendar!

Aside from loving the journey of planning, I love the benefits as well.  Once the plan is in place, all I have to do is execute the steps I’ve laid out for myself.  Just doing is a whole lot easier than thinking about what I should do each time I go to act.  Planning takes the second guessing out of it, and gives me confidence that, when I execute the plan, the goal will become reality.

The critical missing piece

And that’s it … the missing piece that holds most people back from achieving their goals.  Planning how you’ll actually get there.  It feels great to set a goal, and to think about how you’ll feel when you achieve it.  But actually doing the work, day after day?  That’s tough!  Having a plan in place to ensure you succeed makes it a bit easier, and a lot more likely to happen.health and fitness planner

Here are several reasons why planning is the key to your goal setting success:

  1. Planning makes what you have to do less overwhelming. Saying “I want to grow my revenues by 15% this year” feels a bit pie in the sky, but saying “I will make 5 sales calls today” feels totally do-able.  Most goals go this way: if we focus on the big achievement, we can easily get overwhelmed and wind up doing nothing at all.  But if we break it down into bite-sized pieces, of what we need to do each month, week, and day to achieve it, we’re able to think big, while still acting
  2. Planning helps you build credibility with yourself. How many times have we each said “I will lose 10 pounds by the end of the year,” “I will go to the gym every day this month,” or “I won’t have any sugar, ever, for the next 3 months” … and then felt disappointed when we didn’t live up to that lofty goal?  Each time we do that, we’re losing credibility with ourselves, and telling ourselves that we won’t really do what we say we’re going to do.  If, instead, we break down our big goals into bite-sized pieces, saying “I will choose fruit instead of candy today,” and then follow through on them, we can gain credibility with ourselves, and feel confident that we will do what we set out to do.
  3. Planning gives you consistent small wins and helps build momentum. Aside from building credibility with yourself, achieving small victories gives us more momentum to keep the ball rolling!  It’s much more motivating to get to the gym on Wednesday when you already went on Monday, right?
  4. Planning takes the thought out of achieving your goals. Again, simply executing is far easier than thinking through what to do each and every time you act.  I love having plans on paper (or Excel), then consulting what I’m supposed to do that day, and just doing it!

A planning example

Let’s take a triathlon as an example.  Say I wanted to complete an Olympic distance triathlon in 3.5 hours, 3 months from today.  That’s a great goal!  It’s a DREAM goal (Dated, Realistic, Energizing, Action-Focused, Measurable … more on my actual goal setting strategy in this webinar!), so I’ve got the goal setting part down.

Actually achieving the goal, though, comes down to planning out how I will act, and following through.  If I don’t create a plan (or hire someone to make me one), I’ll wake up every day thinking “hmm … I should probably train today.  Should I swim?  Nah, too cold.  Should I run?  I’m kinda sore from yesterday.  Should I bike?  Don’t really feel like it, plus Survivor is on TV…” and you know where that is heading.  It’s a lot of mental agony, and the end result is that very little gets done. health motivation quote

If, instead, I had a plan of what I needed to do every day, all I need to do is execute, and I’ll show up on race day set up for success.  (Of course, there are other factors, like weather, injuries, flat tires, and who knows what else … but I’m far more likely to make it if I’ve executed the plan than if I hadn’t had one!)

Need a little more help?

The process of goal setting (and goal achieving!) can be daunting, and I understand that.  If you need a bit more help, here are 3 ways I can help you:

  1. I just need a gentle nudge: In the Goal Setting webinar that I launched last year, you’ll learn the 7 areas of goal setting (and how to prioritize amongst those), how to anticipate and eliminate road blocks, what you can do to increase chance of goal completion by 42%, how to “BSQ” your goals, and more! Get an instant download of the webinar and handouts for $5 here.
  2. I need daily reminders: I have personally been through a lot of planners, but none of them had everything I needed … a gratitude journal, a daily and weekly schedule, health tracking tools, a morning routine, daily / weekly / monthly reflection, positive quotes daily, workout and meal planning, and so much more.  Of course, I am biased, but I cannot rave about The Pepper Planner enough.  And it’s not just me … other early adopters have called it “life-changing,” said they’re “obsessed,” and have otherwise raved about how effective it is.  It’s not too late to let The Pepper Planner help you achieve your 2019 goals – get your copy here!health and fitness planner
  3. I need someone to keep me motivated and accountable every step of the way: you may be a perfect fit for my one-to-one health coaching programs! As I’m sure you’d expect, this time of year almost always leads to a waitlist for clients, so if you want to get started ASAP, book your free initial consultation today!

Now it’s your turn … Do you set goals, and if so, do you create a plan to help you achieve them?  What’s your best goal setting tip (or goal achieving tip) that I didn’t cover here?

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2 Comments

  1. Michael Anderson on January 1, 2019 at 2:17 pm

    Love it as always … and it is funny how through the years it has become more and more clear that everything in my life is approached using my scientist/engineer mindset – planning, experimentation, analysis.

    So I have my routine of running, then eating to refuel. Tracking my eating has been wonderful – part of my plan to better understand my intake. Weighing myself frequently (most days) on a ‘smart scale’ has helped me understand my natural variation (easily 5+ lbs over the course of a week) and how certain foods will cause me to hold more water weight (e.g. pizza). As a result I can look at weight more holistically and not let it impact my self-esteem.

    The old saying of ‘plan your work, then work your plan’ is so important in everything.

    • Megan Lyons on January 2, 2019 at 2:30 pm

      Ugh, that dreaded sodium-dairy-refined-flour pizza bloat, huh? 😉
      I am personally always fascinated that the scale goes up 2-3 lbs every time I have dairy. Like you said, I can treat it as a science experiment and consider the data in the context of my overall health. For years, though, I couldn’t get on the scale without a lot of self-judgment, so I think it’s a precarious tool for some. I had to get away from the scale all together for a while, then *only* look at a rolling average for a while, and now, thankfully, I treat it as data, as you do. Thanks for sharing!
      Megan Lyons recently posted…One Major Thing Holding You Back from Achieving Your Health GoalsMy Profile

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