You've probably come across SMART goal setting before. How exactly do you go about planning what you want to achieve? Here's an easy step-by-step guide...
The steps are outlined below but feel free to jump straight to the goal setting infographic
Choose your fitness goal. What is it exactly that you want to have or do or be? Is it a size or a shape? A particular speed or a level of performance? Is it a medal or certificate? Whatever it is, write it down.
Break that goal down into chunks. Are there separate parts to it? Do you want to improve the definition of certain muscle groups, for example, while also shaving 2 minutes off your 10k time? Or are you starting at a more basic level with increasing your number of weekly workout sessions or training distances?
Decide when and where you're going to achieve it. Pick your first goal, or part of your goal, and imagine what it will be like when you've achieved it. What fitness benefits do you expect to get when you've established the training schedule you want and it's become a routine? What will your life be like when you've slimmed down to the size you've always wanted to be? How will you feel when you've been picked for the team or won your event? And exactly when is it all going to happen? Don't be vague - pick a date and write it on the calendar or put it in your phone. Set a reminder too.
Write up your training plan. Working back from that date on the calendar when you're going to achieve your goal. Write a detailed daily training schedule that will bring you right back to the present moment.
Set up your away-from motivation. Think for a minute (but don't dwell on it) about what will happen if you don't achieve this goal. If the result doesn't seem to be all that bad, or you don't think there will be much difference in the quality of your life without it, you've probably picked the wrong goal. Go back to Step One and pick a better goal instead.
Prove it to yourself. Think of at least two pieces of evidence that what you want is already starting to happen. These can be tiny - for example, the fact that you're bothering to read this post and do this exercise gives you one piece of evidence right away.
Repeat. This isn't a one off! If you really want to succeed, start every single day with this little exercise until you've got the trophy in your hand or the evidence in the mirror.