Looking your best can be a constant challenge, especially for the average person juggling work, family and a plethora of extracurricular tasks and activities. And, like most things in life, it can be all the more difficult to attain without a clear plan.
Setting goals is more than just helping one identify where they would like to see themselves at the end. Preparing a well-thought out strategy to achieve that goal can help guarantee a level of success that ripples into other areas of one’s life.
Seeing as looking great usually involves some degree of preparation and effort, goal-setting is a great place to start when setting down that path.
1. What’s Your Desired Outcome?
Goal setting is a great exercise in turning your attention inwards and really pinpointing what you would like your end result to be. Without clearly identifying an outcome, you may find yourself constantly chasing an ever-elusive mirage of yourself.
Visualize how you want to look, and be specific. If your goal is to lose weight, establish the amount. If you’re looking to get fit, what will your measure of fitness be? Will it be determined by your ability to run a mile without stopping or by the number of bench presses you can complete in one sitting?
If there are numerous self-improvements on your to-do list, prioritize your goals and choose one to start with. What is the most pressing item to target now? By tackling one goal at a time, you will feel less overwhelmed and be more likely to see each one through to the end.
2. Target Timing
Establishing a timeline is the second key step in your goal-setting experience. How long are you willing to give yourself to reach that end result?
It’s important to be realistic about timing and not pressure yourself to complete a challenging task in an impossible amount of time, such as developing washboard abs in a mere few weeks. On the other hand, you want to avoid dragging your goal out – by giving yourself 5 years to achieve a toned abdomen – as your resolve may not last as long as anticipated. If you’re feeling motivated now, harness that ambition in a goal that will see results sooner rather than later.
This is especially important if it’s your first time setting a goal for looking great, as you want to prove to yourself that the strategy is effective and doable by contacting success. Once you’ve achieved this goal, you may decide to make your next one a little more difficult with a longer term payoff.
3. Create Success
When establishing your goal, it’s crucial to do all you can to set yourself up for a positive experience. By starting small and choosing a goal that is attainable and practical, you are more likely to contact reinforcement along the way, not to mention, success at the end. Rather than aiming to run a marathon in the spring, you may opt for the 10-K instead or smaller runs. Then, when you have accomplished this smaller – yet impressive – feat, you may decide to do a half marathon, eventually working towards the bigger event. Setting goals that are achievable will help create positive feelings about your journey and increase the likelihood of you setting goals again in the future.
4. Seek Support
As you set out on your path to looking great, don’t be afraid to ask for help. In fact, you are more likely to be successful with the support of those you love and trust.
Tell friends and family about your plan ahead of time, and see if there are ways they can help you meet your target. Maybe your best friend can hold on to a reward that she will only give you once you’ve reached your halfway mark, or maybe your spouse can commit to joining you at spin class once a week to help boost your motivation.
And, the more aware your loved ones are aware of your efforts, the less likely they are to accidentally lead you off course, such as bringing over fast food when you’re on day three of a cleanse.
Ensure the people you involve on your journey are understanding and not critical. You may hit a few bumps along the way, and it’s important that if that happens, you are surrounded by people who will help pick you back up rather than leave you feeling judged.
5. Added Bonus
While reaching your end result will be the ultimate prize, it’s important to set up some extra incentives along the way. This will help keep you motivated, and provide additional benefits to look forward to.
Especially if your goal is a long-term one, the end result may be just too far in the distance to maintain its reinforcing strength. So, choose some rewards ahead of time that you can access upon reaching certain ‘checkpoints’ on the course towards your goal.
If you are aiming to lose 20 pounds, set aside a treat for every 5 pounds you shed. This might be in the form of the novel you’ve been eyeing at the bookstore, a new pair of shoes or even permission to have a lazy day around the house.
Just remember when picking your perks to stay clear of items that are unconducive to your goal, such as a rewarding yourself with a box of chocolates for losing weight.
6. Anticipate Roadblocks
While working towards a goal for looking great can be fun and empowering, it can also come with its challenges. Plan ahead of time for bumps in the road, as there will likely be some. By anticipating drawbacks, you will be prepared to handle them appropriately when they come up.
Decide ahead of time how you will react if you end up gaining a few pounds in your quest to shed ten. Rather than beating yourself up, resort to your backup plan. Maybe that involves a couple extra visits to the gym that week or simply calling up a friend for some much-needed words of encouragement.
Know that although planning can be invaluable, things don’t always go according to plan. By knowing what your course of action will be if you hit a few snags, you are more likely to stay the course then fall off the wagon.
7. Maintain Your Goal
So you’ve accomplished your goal to looking great and you’ve never felt better. Now what?
While the end is what you’ve been aiming for all along, it doesn’t necessarily mean your efforts are finished. Just as you’ve carefully mapped out a path towards your goal, you should also have a plan for maintaining it. It can be easy to slip into old habits, and the last thing you want is for all your hard work to funnel down the drain.
Riding the high of victory is also a great time to set new goals, as you are likely feeling strong and capable. Jump on this moment of empowerment to continue your journey to looking great.
With the right strategies and preparations in place, setting a goal can be your ticket to a beautiful and healthy you.
The best part is goal setting is something you can do on your own at little to no expense. By following a clear plan – and taking some extra steps to ensure its success – you may find there is no need to seek an advisor, trainer, surgeon or other professional.
And, when you achieve your goal, you can celebrate in the fact you did it on your own.