In our eBook, 7 Day Jumpstart to a Purposefull Life, we introduced a new formula for goal setting.
Goal setting is an integral part of personal success across all areas of life. Many people have come up with different frameworks for the best way to define goals, but we found that each of them was missing something. So we made up our own! REACH is an acronym for setting goals that are Relevant, Exact, Actionable, Calculable, and Heartfelt. You can use this framework for goal setting in virtually any area of your life, but it’s especially salient when it comes to health and fitness goals.
RELEVANT – Any single goal you set has to tie back into your overall goals for your life—your purpose. Given where you want to go, define your goals in such a way that will help you get there. Now, fitness may not seem to directly relate to your overall purpose, but let us remind you: your purpose doesn’t exist without YOU! You’ve got to be able to make it happen, and being healthy is a big part of that!
EXACT – Goals should be super specific and answer the questions who, what, where, when, why and how. Simply saying you want to lose weight, build muscle, or tone up isn’t clear enough. Without a clear definition of what you’re striving for, there’s no accountability and no way to tell when you’ve reached your goal (which means no celebration!)
ACTIONABLE – Your goal should lend itself to an operable strategy for achievement. It has to be something you can actually do! When you define your goal, you should be able to jot down at least 3 quick action steps for achieving it. For example, if your goal is to lose 30 pounds of body fat by Christmas to get back into a healthy weight range for your height, some action steps could be: 1) eliminate added sugar from your diet, 2) practice portion control, and 3) exercise 30 minutes per day for 5 days per week from now until Christmas Eve.
CALCULABLE – It doesn’t count if you can’t keep track! Make sure your goal is something you can measure to assess your progress. Indicating a specific number of pounds or inches you want to lose or gain, or a certain size dress or pants you want to fit is a good start.
HEARTFELT – You have to be emotionally invested. Your goals have to matter to you. When you’ve bought in, there’s a much greater chance of success. Now, that’s not to say you’ll feel motivated everyday. In the words of Zig Ziglar, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”
Every day you have to get up with newfound resolve and a conviction in your heart to keep pursuing your goals, even when it gets tough or when you feel like giving up. Inspirational quotes and photos and accountability partners are great tools to help you stay the course and keep your heart in it.
MY PERSONAL HEALTHY LIFESTYLE GOAL
I am currently striving to reach my goal weight of a healthy 160 — a weight I’ve never reached. (Last time the scale said anything close to that, I was probably in high school when I couldn’t even appreciate it because I was surrounded by size zeros that always made me feel some type of way. But I digress…
Thinking back on the diets and workout routines I’ve done over many years and attempts to lose weight really got me thinking about what I am really willing to do to reach my goal. I realize it will take the flexibility of eating real food —no more shakes! No more bars! — because that’s what I enjoy. But that flexibility has to be balanced with the discipline to make smart decisions on a moment-by-moment basis, or I’ll be back at square one. And I promised myself I WILL NOT get back there EVER!
So I came up with my own Health & Fitness Lifestyle Truth that states my R.E.A.C.H. goal, my timeframe, and addresses all the things I’m willing to do (and NOT willing to do!) to get there.
MY HEALTH & FITNESS LIFESTYLE TRUTH
My Truth is this: I will lose 56 lbs. (already down 10! 46 more to go!) by Christmas Day, because that is a brunch I simply will not miss!. I will drink half my body weight in ounces of water everyday and eliminate the carbs and the added sugar from my meals until I’ve lost at least 25 lbs. and exercise at least 3 days per week to get there. After that, I will add back whole grains (but still no added sugar) and up the exercise ante to 4+ days per week. I will allow myself one weekly “cheat moment” where I get ONE THING (not a whole meal, definitely not a whole day… Thankfully my birthday has passed!) that’s a bit of a break from the routine and a treat for staying the course. Things I absolutely will not give up are gumbo and stuffing on Thanksgiving and Christmas brunch, which is why I will be done by then! I’m doing this to prove to myself that I can do it, and most importantly, to achieve a lifestyle that allows me to live and enjoy my life freely while still adhering to principles that keep me healthy.
This method may not work for everyone. To be honest, it might not get me where I want to go by Christmas. But I’ve determined that it’s a great place to start because it’s realistic. I’ve proven to myself that I’m capable of cutting out carbs and sugar, drinking my water, fitting in a workout on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and only opening the jar of Nutella to enjoy with one banana and then closing it and forgetting about it for the rest of the week (until just now… *sigh*) Some days are better than others – especially with drinking water – but, on average, I know I can do this.
I CHALLENGE YOU!
So now that you’ve heard a little bit of my story, I’m challenging you to define your R.E.A.C.H. goal and write your own Health & Fitness Lifestyle Truth. Then make it a reality! Include a specific, attainable goal, a timeline for achieving it, and an outline of what you will (and will not!) do to make it happen.
The cool thing about this is, like life, it can and WILL change! You don’t need anyone to tell you that life happens and even your best-laid plans will have to be tweaked here and there. Once you reach your goal, create a new Truth and run with it! If something comes up that prevents you from continuing the plan as written, or you realize it’s just not working as well as you thought it would, revise it and adjust your expectation or timeline. It’s that simple! The point is to keep striving and, in the process, to enjoy every moment of every day. If you ask me, life is just too short to risk your last meal being a chalky protein bar! 😉
Enjoy the journey, celebrate the milestones, and when you reach your destination, live it up and then chart a new course.