To write or not to write goals.. that is the question

Intro: fitness goal setting

The widely accepted study, “The Harvard Yale study of 1953”, of goal-setting is the backbone of many life coaches and motivational speakers strategy for success. Such as Zig Ziglar, Tony Robbins, etc. They have all quoted the study.  If you want to accomplish more, then you need to write down your goals.  The evidence for this inference has been based on a group of Harvard and Yale students.  The 3% who wrote their goals down were found to make ten times as much money as the rest of their group, when polled sometime later.

This study is quoted by sales coaches, life coaches, personal trainers, and pretty much anyone looking to aid their team, staff, and/or client(s) to success.  Except here’s the problem—it’s not true.   With the amount of times this study has been quoted by many trusted speakers and sources, it has rarely been searched for.  When it has, no one has been able to find any documented evidence of it.  What does this mean?

Just as each person learns differently, each person is motivated differently.

For anyone who has taken advanced classes, the one consistent variable is the teacher.  If the teacher can communicate the subject matter to the different people in the class, then he or she is a great teacher.  The same stands with motivation.  Some people can motivate themselves; others need to have deadlines; then there are others still who need to think one day at a time.

The difference has to do with how much pressure a person can take.  In a prior article, we discussed the importance of setting yourself up for success.  Writing your goals down can be very effective, but it can also be self-destructive if you set unrealistic goals.

The fitness takeaway:

There is nothing wrong with writing down “I want to lose 20+lbs, lose 5% body fat, and increase lean muscle tissue.  It’s important to further define your goal!  If it took you 10 years to get the way you are, is it realistic, or more importantly healthy to become something else in 6 months?  I’ll answer that for you—no.  Don’t only focus on the physical; focus on the whole picture—the way you move, look and feel!   If you approach your goals from this point of view, you will see much greater results, as well as begin to enjoy the idea of what you’re doing, because it will become a time for you to relieve stress, as opposed to building it.

Once that happens, then you can start to give yourself deadlines.

I approach each personality type with a different strategy.  There are certain ones with whom I know when to back off, while others I know I can consistently put the pressure on and they will not only keep going, but love it (whether they admit or not ;-))!  The ones that I know I can turn up the pressure on are the ones I was able to create that positive environment for.  What makes me happier is to hear after they completed their training with me that they have still continued their healthy lifestyle.  Now they check in with me whenever they want a new workout routine!  That is the goal.

When you begin your fitness lifestyle change, write down a few easy goals. Begin to build the positive environment, embrace the fitness realm! This way you look forward to the exercise part of your day. As it gets easier, turn up the pace and the results will just begin to flow!

 By: Kirill Vaks
Fitness and exercise specialist
BA, CSCS, ACSM-cpt, NFPT-sns 

Suggested articles:
Success is inevitable 
* Harvard study more in depth (by Sid Savara)

 

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Training Aspects Personal Training and Sports Performance:

Training Aspects’  personal trainers and sports performance coaches want you to accomplish your goals. You, as the personal training client, are a reflection of our personal training and group training methods! We are here to help you accomplish all of your personal training goals!  Our main training focus are people looking to increase performance, lose weight , lose body fat and increase lean muscle. Whether you live in Cherry HillHaddonfield,Marlton, or any of the other surrounding areas we are here to help you Move, Look and feel as you’ve always desired…

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