Did you know that 70% of the people who start a “get in shape” program quit? Clearly, with a number this high, something stops these people from achieving their goals. What is it? Before I answer that let me talk a little bit about the types of goals you can have.
Long Term Goals
A long term goal is one which will take more than a month to achieve. Losing 100 pounds would be a long term goal. These goals are important to have as they give you something to aim for.
Short Term Goals
Short term goals will take less than a month to achieve. These are great to have because while aiming at the long term goals you will be accomplishing some of your short term goals. This will provide you with the motivation you need to forge ahead towards the long term goals.
Baby Step Goals
This is where most people miss the mark. When you start a fitness program there is no need to have goals like “I won't eat anything but clean food” or “I will workout every single day” because these types of goals set you up for failure. Instead, take on baby step goals like “Today I will drink 1/2 gallon of water” or “I will walk to the end of my block and back at a brisk pace.” These are almost slam dunk goals and they are designed to motivate you. Don't skip these. They can be the difference between being part of the 30% and being part of the 70%
What is this thing? BHAG stands for Big Hairy Audacious Goal, an idea conceptualized in the book, “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies” by James Collins and Jerry Porras. According to Collins and Porras, a BHAG is a long-term goal that changes the very nature of a business’ existence. Well, you may not be a business, but you can have a BHAG. When I dropped 80 pounds in 8 months I had a BHAG. I was going to compete in a bodybuilding show whether or not I got into shape. I paid the fees and told every single person I knew about stepping on stage. I was not allowed to fail because failure would have resulted in massive humiliation. Today my BHAG is to be in the best shape of my life. What is your BHAG?
Goals are here to motivate us. Use them to your advantage. Set goals that are realistic, but make sure they scare you a little. You don't want them to be too easy.
Why the 70% Fail
There are so many different causes to failure in a fitness program, but to me the two biggest are failing to have baby step goals and lack of accountability. As previously discussed, baby step goals will push you towards the ultimate prize a little at a time. Having accountability to some one or some group is also essential. This accountability includes total honesty and transparency. You can write on Facebook that you went to the gym and you might not have. Only you know the truth. This is why you have to be honest. If you're honest your accountability group can push you towards your goals. They can help you finish what you started. Don't be afraid to fail, but don't let failure be your only option either. If you fall, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and forge ahead towards your goals yet again.
Want to see all the messages in this May 2016 Challenge Series? I have them organized for you right here.