Fitness training without goal-setting is like peanut butter without the jelly. Where most people stumble, whether we're talking about fitness, personal or professional goals, is that they set themselves up for failure even with the best intended goals. Goal-setting is an art that requires constant practice to master. Most often, people set goals that are actually results rather than process-driven goals, or as I like to refer to as an "action-goals" that will ultimately lead to succeeding at the greater goal.

    I presume you are familiar with the SMART acronym for goals (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound), but the SMART approach doesn't address the actual process of goal-setting, and more importantly, goals that are inherently set-up for success.

    I've shared below my 4-step strategy that I find gives me the structure I need to not just set goals but create an action-plan that creates a definitive path to success; these four steps can be applied to any goal: fitness, personal or professional.

    STEP 1: Set your ultimate goal then break it down (what's your BHAG; Big Hairy Audacious Goal?)

    How will you achieve your goal?
    What actions need to happen in order to realize success?
    What is the specific time-table?

    STEP 2: Break your BHAG down into specific Action-Goals

    ACTION-GOALS ARE (I've included examples of goals that we typically hear from our clients, but can easily be replaced with business, financial, personal goals, etc.):
    Specific & quantifiable
    ASK: how much? exactly when and where? what specifically do I need?


    Goal that falls short ...

    Goal revamped

    I want to drink more water.I drink 70 ounces of water every day.
    I want to make better food choices. I eat one fruit or veggie with every meal.

    In your ultimate control
    ASK: do I have complete power to achieve this goal?

    Goal that falls short ...

    Goal revamped

    I want to lose 10 pounds.
    I take positive 3 actions everyday that have
    a direct impact on my health.

    Designed to set you up to succeed
    ASK: is this goal realistic given what is going on in my life? If I tried this before and failed, what do I need to do differently?

    Goal that falls short ...

    Goal revamped

    I will workout every day.
    I do workout on M/W/F at 9:30am, walk 30 minutes
    on Tuesdays and do yoga on Saturdays.
    I will plan my meals each week.    
    I create a meal plan on Sundays and then
    grocery shop

    Are inherently positive
    ASK: is the language I'm using helping me succeed or setting me up for failure?
    Goal that falls short ...Goal revamped
    I won't cheat on my diet.I enjoy my food, treats, drinks, etc.
    I am going to cut-out carbs.I incorporate healthy carbohydrates in
    each of my meals.

    STEP 3: Take action! 
    - Use an accountability/productivity calendar or use goal-tracking apps (try 42goals or Lifetick).
    - Create a daily/weekly/monthly check-in routine so you can plan, plan, plan.
    - Create 2-3 specific actions that have a direct impact on your goal.
    - Track and measure! 

    STEP 4: Constantly reassess and recalibrate ... celebrate your successes!
    - You manifest the energy you put out into the world; good or bad ...
    - Meditate on your goal ... see it, feel it, taste it, live it.
    - Forgive yourself when you don't succeed; celebrate when you do!

    Yogi Berra put it best, "If you don't know where you're going, you'll end up someplace else." Create a path for your clients (and yourself) that will lead to success!