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Goal setting & Visualization

July 22, 2008


I am sure many of you have definable, concrete goals that you’d like to accomplish within the next few months, 6 months, or year and beyond. Whatever the time frame, I feel that goal setting is important because it gives you a clear idea of where you’d like to be in a given amount of time.

Even when one has achieved his or her ideal weight or body shape (the primary reason why one embarks on a fitness regimen), setting a goal (i.e. completing a 5k, mini-triathlon, learning how to surf, hiking Mt. Whitney, etc. etc.) can keep you on track, motivated, and get you out the door when you just don’t feel like exercising. Sometimes exercising for health reasons alone just isn’t enough (although it should be!) ;o)

Once you have determined your short term and long term goal/s, what’s next? A map of how you’re going to get there! If you haven’t mapped out exactly how you’re going to accomplish your goal, it is all too easy to skip a work-out, or decide that you’ll do it at a later time (which all too often, doesn’t happen). A clearly defined map, a daily schedule, even a work-out log will keep you on track and more likely to stick to your plan.

For example, take the marathon or half-marathon. Is it possible to run one without a schedule of daily workouts necessary to complete before the big day? Yes, but it’s quite hard to wing these types of training plans. To do so will leave you feeling unorganized and most likely, under-trained. But if you follow a detailed, organized schedule (many are available online), you are more likely to be well-prepared and ready once the big day arrives. Instead of thinking about what type of work-out you’re going to do from day to day, all you have to do is take a look at your schedule, and your work-out is already there. No thinking about it, it’s already set in stone for you!

Weight loss is no different. If you have a goal to lose 20 pounds before a certain date (say 4 months), you must have a defined plan of how you are going to achieve this-weight loss is NOT easy and you must be CLEAR and DEFINED in your goals and how you are going to go about your weight loss efforts. You must plan your workouts like you’d plan a dinner date or dentist appointment, and you must stick to them.

Also, you will need to take some time to prepare your food in advance, what you are going to eat from day to day, when and where your indulgences will be. You must decide what you are going to cut out, what calorie range you want to stick to in order to lose this weight.

If you do not do this, then as I stated above, it will be much, much easier to fall off track, indulge when you didn’t expect to or miss a workout. If mapping out a plan seems too tedious and you don’t feel like taking the extra time to do so, then you might be making a mistake. There is power in clear goal setting and tracking your progress!

Visualization is also a wonderful tool in the goal setting process. When I was a collegiate athlete, our coach made us visualize our races, and I hated the process because I found it boring and I didn’t understand why we were doing it. At the time, I didn’t realize that the subconscious mind is a powerful tool in driving behavior-it does not know the difference between something real and something vividly imagined.

Keep visualizing your goals in full detail, whatever they may be, and FEEL yourself being where you want to be. No more negative thoughts, words, or actions. All too often we beat ourselves down, and we are much too critical of our physiques. If you keep thinking negative thoughts about yourself, pretty soon you will believe these affirmations as if they were 100% true. Be kind to yourself, stay focused on the positive, and visualize what you want as if you were already there.

Get serious about goal setting, planning, and visualization! They are great tools that you may need to take you to the next level!

Good luck! XO

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