When it comes to your health and well-being, setting attainable goals is a vital tool in maintaining motivation and building confidence. Staying motivated in your wellness program allows you to become more successful. These successes improve your confidence and keep you coming back for more. Assisting you in choosing the right goals and utilizing the right assessments are a personal trainer’s bread and butter.

How do you determine what goal is right for you?

Start with a baseline assessment. For all my personal training clients this is an all-encompassing assessment that includes: readiness for physical activity, readiness for change, social support, body composition, blood chemistry, dietary record of the past 3-5 days, stress levels, medical history, and a functional movement screening. An assessment of this nature addresses all five aspects of wellness: physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual.

The more information provided during a baseline assessment, the better a personal trainer can track progress. This enables your personal trainer to reassess and make adjustments to your program, which optimizes your results. Once your baseline assessment is complete, it’s time to evaluate the data.

Taking a hard look at all aspects of your life can be arduous.

Take a deep breath. Do your best to have an open mind to the possibilities of positive change this can allow. A personal trainer is specifically trained to assist in prioritizing goal setting.

The most effective goal brings out the most physiological benefits with the least psychological resistance.

There are five aspects to setting a goal.

1. Be as specific as possible when setting a goal. This goal will be able to answer the who, what, where, when, and your purpose for choosing the goal. Break it down all the way into a single actionable behavior with detail. At the end of each day you will be able to tell yourself you either worked on your goal or not. It is the simplest way to hold yourself accountable for your own actions.

2. Next, you will ensure that the goal is also measurable. This is really the only way you will know if you have reached your goal. Kind of important. Set a concrete criteria for reassessing your progress in your wellness program. A measurable goal answers the how much and how many questions you will ask yourself. At this point you have your specific and measurable aspects of your goal.

3. On to the attainable part of the goal. An attainable goal allows you to develop slowly and steadily progress towards a much larger goal previously unattainable. Again, this is where the maximum physiological benefit meets the minimum psychological resistance. Rate your confidence on achieving your goal 1-10. The Goldilocks zone for difficulty is 6-8. Not too hard, and not too easy. Just right. The reasoning for this is similar to the concept of issuing 60% positive specific feedback and 40% corrective specific feedback to clients. It enables the client to build confidence while also focusing on improvement.

4. Goals must be realistic. In this case, real means something that you are willing to work towards in order to attain the goal. That’s it. It can be both a lofty goal and a realistic goal at the same time. Keep in mind a higher goal has more motivational force than a lower goal.

5. Lastly, a goal must have a time restraint or be tangible. Lacking a time frame means lacking urgency to achieve the goal. A tangible goal, for example, would be hiking Mt. Katahdin and watching the view from the top.

After a goal has been set, it is important to continue to track progress through reassessments. When working with goals, it is important to try to remove your personal expectations from the wellness program equation.

Setting expectations on yourself only leads to disappointment. If you find yourself feeling discouraged with how you feel your program is going: reassess your program.

A personal trainer can advise changes to improve the wellness program after reassessments.

Try looking at your wellness goals as possibility for yourself rather than an expectation of yourself. This leads to not only better results, but a better outlook altogether.

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