How many of you have dreaded getting started on a new routine? Whether it’s a new fitness routine or new eating plan or looking for a new job that better aligns with your vocation, getting motivated to start a new venture can be tough. So today I want to encourage you with some tips on goal-setting that may make your venture a little easier.
Last week I set a goal to exercise one hour on the elliptical machine at the gym every day for five days straight. After completing the goal each day, I posted a picture of a very sweaty me and the readouts from the machine and my fitness watch.
Why in the world did you do this, you ask? I was preparing to teach a short segment on goal setting this past Saturday for my WELL Woman program and I wanted a quick real-time example to share on the power of goal setting.
Goals can be powerful motivators. Especially if they are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Reasonable and Time-based). Goals can be even more effective if they are linked to vision and purpose. To be effective, your goals must be connected to things that have meaning and value for you.
Start with Vision
WELL Women are Women who (W)holistically Embrace Life and Living. I had to envision myself being a WELL woman. I had to envision myself as a woman who enthusiastically lives and leads. For our WELL Woman program we defined seven life categories that comprise WELLness for us:
- Spiritual WELLness
- Vocational WELLness
- Relational WELLness
- Financial WELLness
- Communal WELLness
- Health WELLness (Mental, Emotional and Physical)
- Personal WELLness
I had to define what being a WELL Woman was not going to be also! For me becoming a well woman meant admitting that I am not superwoman! For me becoming a WELL Woman means I must be intentional in maintaining my WELL-being so that I can continue to live out my purpose in helping and serving others.
According to Bishop Vashti McKenzie, in her book, Journey to the Well, “Vision is the destination of purpose. It is an appointment with desired goals, or benchmarks of progress representing what you are going to do with the purpose, your mission.”
A WELL Woman Case Study
Let me give an example. Staying physically fit is not a challenge for me during any season but winter in Chicagoland. During the dark, cold, wintry months in the upper Midwest, I must confess that I hibernate. I minimize going outside. When I do go out for meetings, church or client engagements, I bundle up like a bear from head to toe! I even shorten my workout routine to about 30 minutes on our home treadmill and give myself credit for doing something! I just don’t seem to have the energy.
Well a few Sundays ago my husband was speaking with a friend of ours, Debra Collins, who consistently completes one hour on the elliptical trainer at her gym. My husband mentioned he doesn’t have the stamina to do the elliptical, “But Jeanne does! She’s fierce on that thing.” I was thinking to myself, “only in the spring, summer and fall, sweetie. Then as Debra drew closer to speak with me, I confessed I hadn’t been on the elliptical for a while because “it’s just so hard for me to get moving in the winter.” She’s the sweetest person with the gentlest voice and she said, “Yes, it can be hard to exercise in the winter, but I know you can do it.”
That night I thought about my envisioned WELL Woman self and made up in my mind that the next day I was setting a goal to complete five days straight on the elliptical machine. Why five? Because it was a specific, measurable, actionable, reasonable and time-based target.
I not only saw myself as a WELL Woman, I saw myself on that elliptical completing one hour. And I saw my physical fitness directly related to the work I do—traveling, speaking, consulting, and coaching women leaders. My purpose requires I maintain my health! Whatever you are trying to accomplish, you’ve got to see yourself accomplishing it. And your vision has got to be connected to your distinct purpose.
Define your Target for Action
So, on day one with my goal in mind, I got to the gym and jumped on one of the elliptical machines. I hadn’t completed an hour on the elliptical for some time but I determined to do it that day. And I did. The goal became a target for action for me. It got me moving. And the more I moved, the more confident I got in completing the goal each day. The more I moved, the more energetic I became. Set your goal and get to moving.
Identify Short-term goals
Did you notice I set a five-day target for doing elliptical work. Too often we set long-term goals and get discouraged when we don’t see immediate results. Set a short-term goal and track it. At day five I could look back over my goal accomplishments and see progress.
My short-term Goal: 5 Days vs 1 year.
Set both End-Goals and Process-Goals
Vision for me is a type of end-goal. It’s something we want to be or accomplish in the future—often the way-far-out-there future. Starting with vision is important but breaking the vision into a series of short-term process-oriented goals will help you stay motivated. Process oriented goals include goals that are related to an action or process you need to accomplish in order to achieve the long-term goal.
My Vision – to be a WELL Woman who is physically fit.
Process Goal: To work out daily for 60 minutes on the elliptical, starting with a 5 day short-term goal.
On day one I decided to post my goal and pictures of my daily accomplishments. I wanted the accountability of other WELL women. Once I put it out there, I knew I would be motivated to keep going. Plus I didn’t want to be embarrassed for not reaching the goal. yes, for some of us embarrassment is a motivator.
Other WELL Women in my Face Book Feed kept me accountable.
At the end of the five days, I posted and gave myself a high five. I then asked my social media friends to high five me back. That was a quick celebration acknowledging completion of the goals! Find a way to celebrate and reward yourself.
Thanks, Phyllis and Wanda for these great encouragers! Visit my FB page for the most awesome GIFS!
I used a physical fitness goal as an example, but here are some sample goals from all seven WELLness areas. These samples were developed with the WELL Women program participants in mind, but any reader can adapt them to your life. Click below to download the PDF:
So, there you have a short lesson on goal setting using my week on the elliptical trainer as a case study. Now as a short reminder, before you start a fitness routine, make sure you consult with your doctor or medical professional.
By the way, I am still getting to the gym and on the elliptical. Last week motivated me to keep it going. As women most of us are super-duper busy, but we’ve got to make time for our own WELL-being. Setting SMART goals is a way to get you moving toward your target. Join me in setting your WELLness goals today.
© 2018 Dr. Jeanne Porter King