Why It’s Important To Set Your Own Goals

The Importance of Setting Your Own Goals

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

As a personal trainer part of my job includes asking clients to share their goals and what they would like me to help them with when it comes to their health and fitness.  It’s during this initial consultation that the client will share with me what has worked for them in the past, what they like, don’t like, etc.

Human beings are designed to want to set goals and achieve them.  Goals fuel the desires of our heart and help us to live out our lives to the fullest.

I don’t think anyone ever sets a goal or takes on a challenge with the intention of giving up. However, I do think that setting goals that are unrealistic or not your own can be a recipe for failure.  What’s motivating you is a very important thing to consider when pursuing your dreams and goals.  Is it a strong desire in your heart or are you wanting acceptance from another person?  It’s okay to prove to the world they were wrong about you as long as it’s something YOU want.  Simply wanting “revenge” is still allowing another person or society to control your life.

Once you’ve determined that the goal you’ve set is something that is important to you and you would do it whether people cheer you on or not, take a moment to look closely at the goal you’ve set and ask yourself whether or not it is aligned with your values and current priorities.

While looking like your favorite Hollywood celebrity may seem like a fantastic goal, after discovering what’s required you may decide that it’s not the goal for you.  Even more importantly, you might discover that due to your natural body type it would be extremely unhealthy and painful for you to even attempt to get there.

To achieve true success it’s critical that your goals be your own. Copying someone else’s life will  never feel quite right because it wasn’t meant for you.  It’s okay to follow general guidelines and success patterns, but your own goals need to be customized to fit your life and should be meaningful to you.

It’s also important to set boundaries around your goals.  Some trainers and/or coaches can unintentionally set goals for you.  While their intentions are good, they can set the client up for failure if they are imposing goals that are unrealistic or do not fit and serve the client’s lifestyle.

Goals Are Like Oxygen

The fitness industry often makes too many assumptions that everyone wants to live and look just like a fitness model.  While that might be something everyone would love to naturally achieve, not everyone wants to live the lifestyle of a fitness model nor do they have the body type to look like the models most fitness magazines hire.  Avoid allowing a coach or trainer to try to stuff you into their box of what they think your goals should look like.  This principle doesn’t have to be limited to health and fitness and can apply to any area of your life.

Goals are like oxygen.  They help us get out of bed in the morning.  No matter what the goal is related to (i.e. family, personal, business, etc.), I encourage you to follow your own personal path. I personally believe that God has a unique journey planned for each and every one of us and when we follow that inner voice, we walk toward our destinies.

Shared with love,
Jennifer

How To Set New Year’s Goals That Work

How To Set New Year's Goals You'll Stick To by Certified Personal Trainer and Healthy Lifestyle Coach Jennifer Ledford

Happy New Year!

A brand new year is upon us and, for many of you, that means setting brand new goals or, in some cases, resurrecting old ones.  For some, setting New Year’s goals is exciting and for others, it can be a bit intimidating.

If you find yourself in the camp that’s hesitant to set new goals, you are not alone.  It’s a normal feeling that usually stems from fear of loss and/or failure.  Based on the statistics that  1/3 of the goal setters will have already broken their resolutions by January 7th, it’s understandable why the fear to commit to new goals exists.  Whether you are someone who is all fired up to set new goals, terrified, or somewhere in between, the good news is it’s entirely possible for anyone to set goals that they can stick to.  It just takes a little reflection and some know how.

How To Set NEW YEAR’S Goals You’ll Stick To

One of the main reasons people have a hard time keeping their resolutions after the new year is that the goals they’ve set are usually unrealistic.  Even the most disciplined person on the planet is going to have a hard time meeting a goal that is so lofty, the odds of winning the lottery are better than achieving the goals they’ve set.

For example, if you only have thirty minutes a day to exercise and it take twenty minutes to drive to the gym, setting a goal of going to the gym five days per week is a recipe for failure.

Five Tips To Set Goals That Work

1) Make it personal. Take a moment to look closely at the goals you’ve set and ask yourself whether or not they are aligned with your values and current priorities.

While looking like the model on the cover of a magazine may seem like a fantastic goal, after discovering what’s required, you may decide that’s not for you or, even more importantly, that’s not your body type and it would be extremely unhealthy for you to even attempt to get there.

It’s critical that your goals be your own. Copying someone else’s life can be like wearing shoes that are a bit too tight. It never feels quite right. It’s okay to use general guidelines but when you finally set the goals, they need to be customized to fit your life and be meaningful to you. You are an individual which makes a cookie-cutter approach  tough to stick to.

Look at your calendar and be realistic about how much time you can commit to your new goal. This is really important! Often times, we can get so caught up in the excitement of setting our New Year’s goals that we forget to think about the time involved.  Most of us have existing commitments (family, relationships, jobs, pets, etc.) that don’t go away at the end of the calendar year.

If you are struggling to find time, ask yourself if there are other commitments that you should put on hold or can delegate to someone else.  In order to create time for new goals we usually need to let go of other commitments or, in some cases, habits that are not serving us well.   Consider multi tasking when it’s appropriate, like exercising while you listen to a conference call or walking during your lunch hour. Do what you can. It’s better to get started with a smaller goal than to never begin at all.

2) Change one thing. The people that usually see the most success do so by setting one to two goals they know they can implement right away.

Start by committing to your new goal for thirty days and then evaluate whether or not it’s working for you.  Don’t be afraid to change things up and tweak things.  Adding a new “thing” to your life usually requires an adjustment period so allow yourself some time to figure out what works for you.

3) Write it down. People that commit their goals to paper have a higher success rate. So take a moment to write down your goals for each area of your life for the new year. If you are keeping your list realistic, it shouldn’t be too long. You can always add more later in the year once you’ve accomplished the first set. Keep your list posted in a place you’ll see it daily to help you stay on track.

4) Do the work. Once you’ve set your realistic goals, follow through and do your best to stick to your plan. Research shows us that once one healthy goal becomes a habit, momentum occurs which then leads to success in adding other healthy habits automatically.  This applies to every area of your life, not just health and fitness.  Goals that serve you well should all be considered healthy. 🙂

5) Don’t be afraid to change things up. From time to time circumstances may throw you off track. This is normal and happens to everyone.  Oftentimes, all you have to do is get up, shake off the dust, and get back on track.  Other times (like when I recently broke my foot) you have to pivot and make some temporary and/or permanent changes.  That doesn’t mean you are a failure.  It means you are living life and adapting to whatever comes your way.

New Year’s resolutions should advance and take you forward long-term but not be so lofty or torturous that they are completely unobtainable. Keeping this mindset will allow you to set yourself up for total success.

Have a Happy New Year!

With love,
Jennifer

P.S. Have a question or comment? Please post it below in the comment section and/or on my Facebook page. I love to hear from you!

The First Step To Setting Goals You’ll Stick To

Jennifer Ledford - Merry Christmas 2016 and Happy New Year - Setting Goals

A new year is right around the corner and that usually means the setting of new goals and/or resolutions for many people.  I believe it’s important to have a vision for your life and I’ll be sharing helpful tips on how to set goals that lead to success over the next few weeks.  However, there’s still a few days left in this calendar year so, before we start focusing on next year, I’m going to invite you to join me in taking a moment to look back at 2016.

Before you get nervous about my invitation, please understand that I’m not suggesting you look back at 2016  for the purpose of picking apart what went wrong or to beat yourself up about what wasn’t accomplished last year.  I’m suggesting that we all take a moment to pause and reflect on what went well and what WAS accomplished in the past year.  Where are areas that you saw success?  Did you take that vacation you always wanted to go on or get that new job?  Did you pick one healthy habit and stick to it most of the year?  When you look back, you may be surprised at how many things you accomplished in 2016 that you are not giving yourself credit for.

As I write this, I am nursing our seventeen year old dog who has been battling cancer for over eight months.  A few weeks ago she became seriously ill and needed to be hospitalized.  When we picked her up from the animal hospital we left with supportive medication to make her comfortable, a tearful goodbye,  and the instructions to simply take things day by day.  For someone that is a big planner taking life day by day is generally not normal for me.

While it’s not exactly how I envisioned spending our holiday season, taking care of her has allowed me to be more still during what is normally a busy time of year for us.  I’ve spent less time focusing on material things and more time spending precious time with my family around our Christmas tree.  Sometimes you get what you need in unexpected ways.

This year has been full of highs, lows, and everything in between for our household.  Basically, life happened.  So, as mid-December rolled around, I found myself joining the ranks of society that is eager for the year to end and a “fresh” new year to begin.  While I wasn’t quite at the point of “I can’t wait for this year to be over,” I was certainly saying “I’m looking forward to 2017.”  And then it dawned on me.  I was already revving up for 2017 and wasn’t living in the present.  I was “enduring” rather than “living” and I realized that was not how I wanted to remember this time.  That’s when I believe I received a nudge from God to pause and reflect on all of the good things that have happened this year, all of the goals that WERE met, and all of the surprise blessings.

While it’s true that we should keep our eyes on the road ahead of us and avoid coasting on our past successes, reminding yourself of the the things you’ve done right or the battles you have won in the past will help give you the strength you need to carry on while tackling the goals you’ve set for the new year.  And, understanding your strengths helps you set realistic goals based on your own personal gifts and  the desire of YOUR heart,  NOT what society says you “should” want for yourself.  I’ve yet to see a “list of shoulds” be a powerful motivator for anyone, myself included.

Before the clock strikes twelve on December 31st, I encourage you to take out a piece of paper or your journal and make a list of all of the goals you’ve accomplished, the things that went well for you, the blessings you received this past year, and anything else positive you can come up with. I promise you you’ll be glad you did.

Taking time out to reflect on your accomplishments will empower you to move forward because  focusing on what you CAN do is always more powerful than focusing on what you can’t do.

Here’s to a healthy and very happy new year!

Shared with love,
Jennifer