So, what does “light your fire” mean? Essentially, I’m saying that WHAT you want to accomplish is important, BUT the most important thing is WHY you want to accomplish this goal. Once you figure this out, the rest of the steps will be a simple process to help you get results quicker. Without this step, you may be able to accomplish a few objectives out of sheer determination and following some strict action steps. However, your passion and personal motivation will not be behind your changes and the daily tasks you are working on will seem much more like chores instead of positive steps you are taking to your ultimate objective.
To figure this out, you need to look deeper at your motivation. There are two types of motivation…
Extrinsic motivation comes from sources outside yourself. For example, you may be doing something to impress another person or gain external recognition. This is a perfect example and very common. We see this when people decide to lose weight or get fit to attract more attention from a coworker, friend, or that person they’ve been admiring from a distance. While this motivation may be quite powerful at the beginning and produce some exceptional results, it will start to fade and with it the motivation to keep the changes that generated those results.
On the other side of the coin is intrinsic motivation. This is when a person is motivated for internal reasons such as personal pride, sense of accomplishment, or other factors extremely important to them alone. These types of goals could be accomplished without anyone else ever knowing and would be just as powerful (if not more) to the person.
Intrinsic motivation is the long-term fuel that keeps people on track to accomplish ANY worthwhile and personally relevant goal. People who tap into this source of motivation have a dramatically higher long term success rate than those who are motivated solely by the recognition of others.
STEP 2: SET SMART GOALS This sounds simple enough, but very few people actually know how to set a proper goal. Setting and accomplishing SMART goals is so important.
Don’t worry, there is a simple system to virtually guarantee success if you follow it. You may be thinking that setting goals can’t be that difficult and that you have lots of goals! You are correct; setting goals is actually quite easy if you follow the right system.
The problem is that most people’s “goals” are really just dreams and wishes that never get acted on, never mind accomplished! This happens because they fail to use a system or to follow through on their plan.
Setting SMART Goals takes some practice, but this is perfect because starting with small easily achievable objectives will help you ease into the POSITIVE SPIRAL OF GOAL SETTING SUCCESS!
If you haven’t figured it out yet, SMART is actually an acronym and the basis of your goal setting system. I took this from something i read in college and i can't remember who wrote it. It stands for…
- Attainable-Action Oriented
- Time Sensitive
You’ve probably realized that to accomplish any complex task, you will have an overlapping series of process and outcome goals. It is the tracking, planning, scheduling, and ACTION on these goals which truly determines your ultimate results!
Now that you understand the basics of SMART Goal Setting, here are two more important Steps that will virtually GUARANTEE SUCCESS!
STEP 3: IDENTIFY THE BARRIERS TO YOUR SUCCESS You’ve built your SMART Goal List and during the “REALISTIC” section, you probably had to make some adjustments based on what you know of your personality, motivation, and current lifestyle. That’s great because it will help you tremendously in this section.
Your next important task is to closely evaluate all aspects of your life, look at past failures (remember, they are there for you to learn from), and brainstorm all of the possible obstacles that will stand in your way during your journey to success.
These barriers will be different for everyone, but I’ve listed a few common obstacles that I see with many of my private clients.
- Work schedule
- Long, inflexible work hours
- Long commute
- Family commitments
- Lack of motivation
- Lack of equipment or resources
- Limited knowledge
- On how or what to do to reach your goals
- Lack of support from family, friends
- Active sabotage from family, friends, coworkers or self
- Injuries or medical conditions
- Poor time management skills
- Not enough money
For each obstacle, write down two or three actions you can take to minimize or sidestep the potential barrier
For example, if you feel that your lack of motivation and ability to stick to a plan will be issues, you may brainstorm the following options:
- Hire a trainer for regular accountability check-ups and training sessions.
- Engage the help of a supportive friend or family member to keep you accountable and on target to your goals.
- Brainstorm the things in your life that motivate you the most and link your success to those items through rewards, bonuses, or incentives.
STEP 4: FOLLOW THE PLAN!It goes without saying that the greatest plan ever designed is useless if it isn’t followed! Over my 20 year career in health and fitness, I’ve seen this happen more times than I can count.
Many people used to complain to me about the lack of results they were seeing from the program and plan I put together for them. When I asked questions about their execution of the program, they would provide heaps of excuses about why they couldn’t do this part, that part, or had to change another part.
When I pointed out to them that they didn’t actually do the program I provided, they would often say, “But I got busy!”, or “It was too hard!” Yet, throughout the time of their program, they never once contacted me to discuss their challenges.
That’s why it’s important to take the initial goal setting process seriously. Challenge yourself, but keep the plan realistic because your success depends on being able to follow that plan exactly!
“Some people make things happen. Some people watch things happen. Some people wonder what happened.”
Best of luck with your progress! Feel free to contact me with any questions or if you need some additional help.