Fitness Health Lifestyle Self-help

How to set goals, reach them, and continue making progress

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” – Zig Ziglar

Let’s think about that for a minute… Why would this be true? It is true because in order to reach your goals, it requires dedication, determination, consistency, and hard work. If you have all of those qualities and use them often, it shapes who you are as a person and sets you apart from those who fail to reach their goals or even fail to set them. Without goals, you lack focus and direction. To have goals, you need to know how to set goals properly, reach them, and then what to do once you have accomplished that goal in order to continue moving forward and not back-track. My tips provided below are intended for health and fitness related goals, but can also be beneficial with most other life goals as well.

Setting Goals

  1. Break it down.  If your overall goal is to lose forty pounds, break it into increments. Set the goal of losing five, or even three pounds first. When you break the goal down into smaller increments, you will value your progress more. If you look at the big picture of forty pounds and have only lost three pounds, you are likely to get discouraged and feel like your goal is unattainable. BUT if your goal is to lose five pounds and you lose three pounds, then you get excited and know you are halfway there. It’s a mind game. Know what the big picture is, but then zoom in and focus on a smaller portion of it.
  2. Let it out. Write your goal down, tell your friends, or even make a post about it. Physically writing down a goal makes it real and tangible. You have no excuse for forgetting it. Use the word “will” instead of “would like to” or “might.” This helps you to actually visualize yourself reaching that goal. Find a friend who has a similar goal and help each other by being accountability partners. Check in on one another to stay on track.
  3. Plan ahead. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Write down the steps you will use to reach your goal instead of “winging it.” Cross off the steps as you complete them so that you will be able to see your progress. If your goal involves eating healthy, and you know you are headed out of town, research the restaurants and plan your meals in advance or bring food with you.
  4. Be realistic. It is ok to have big dreams, but like I said earlier- zoom in a little bit. When you are planning, take it week by week. If your goal is to workout five times per week, but you know you hate waking up early, don’t write down that you are going to be at the gym by 5:30am. It won’t happen. Instead of trying to turn yourself into an early bird, set a time to exercise after work or before bed when you feel like you have more energy.

Reaching Goals

  1. Reward yourself. People respond well to rewards, don’t we? When you see that you have made progress or been consistent, do something for yourself. Put a few dollars in a jar for every pound you lose and once you get to a certain amount lost, use the money to buy something for yourself. Try to reward yourself with things that will help you meet your goal. For example, rather than rewarding yourself with an ice-cream cone for reaching a milestone in your weight loss, buy yourself a new pair of tennis shoes or a cute gym outfit!
  2. Focus on portions. If you go to a birthday dinner, you don’t have to skip out on a slice of cake. Realize that I said “a slice,” meaning one. In moderation, indulgences are fine- just don’t overdo it. Learn what a serving size is and eat one serving instead of gorging until you feel full.
  3. Be consistent. It isn’t about what you do for one day that gets you to your goal, it’s what you do repeatedly. How many people do you know who set a New Years resolution who marched into the gym on January 2nd, worked out, and then never stepped foot into the gym again? Being a gym owner, I can tell you there are more than you would think. This is where planning ahead comes in. Get on a schedule and plan the days you are going to work on your goal then stick to it. If you miss one day, get back on track the next. You can’t expect to reach your goal if you only work on it when you feel like it. It’s not about how many times you fall down, it’s about how many times you get back up and keep going.
  4. It’s about progress not perfection. You should try to be better and not perfect. If your goal is to quit drinking sodas and you normally have five a day, cut it down to three a day, then two, then one. Drinking two sodas per day is still better than having five per day. Remember what I said about increments? It still applies. Don’t beat yourself up over not being able to give something up “cold turkey,” in fact, you are more likely to fail if you give it up all at once rather than slowly. If you are just starting a new workout regimen, don’t be upset if your gym partner completed five rounds and you completed two. The two rounds you completed are two more than you have been doing which means you are making progress towards your goal!


  1. Forgive yourself. You are going to have slip ups where you skip a workout or eat a bad meal. Do not let this break you. You have met your goal and now need to continue moving forward. Don’t focus on small mistakes, look at the big picture. If you get sick or have surgery and are unable to workout for a few weeks, does that mean you should throw in the towel once the two weeks are up? No. It means that you should ease yourself back into it so that you can keep your progress. It is easier to maintain than it is to start over. If a new house catches on fire and only damages one room, are they going to demolish the entire house and build a new one? No, they will repair the one room. Life happens, keep moving.
  2. Indulge yourself. Allow yourself a cheat meal once per week or bi-weekly. Remember what I said about portions? Use that here as well. If you are craving something chocolate, instead of denying yourself any chocolate- have one serving of a chocolate bar. Don’t go eat a whole tub of ice-cream because you are craving it, instead get a kids cup so that you have enough to curb your craving but not enough to ruin your progress. Moderation is key.
  3. Measure progress. Just because you have met your goal, you shouldn’t stop measuring your progress. Instead of weighing to see if you’re maintaining your weight, keep track using photos and how your clothes fit. If you know your pants are getting a little snug in the waist, adjust what you are doing but don’t freak out. You need to be able to revisit and re-evaluate when needed.
  4. Family time. Get your family involved. You don’t have to be the only one in the family eating healthy and exercising. Your kids and significant other can go for a walk with you, ride bikes with you, paddle board, or kayak. Help them help you. If your husband is usually the cook in the house but you want to change your eating habits, help him find healthy recipes and go to the store with him instead of making it his responsibility. Use your children as a reason to stay healthy instead of a reason that you can’t. The healthier you are, the healthier your relationships will be.

I hope these tips are beneficial to you and help you on your journey. If you need a support system to help you, please join my free ladies-only support group by clicking here.

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