The Evertrain Quick-Guide to Goal Setting for Fitness and Weight Loss - Ottawa

Start this year off right with the right goals.

We'd like to wish all of our readers a Happy New Year. To kickstart 2017 we wrote a blog post with tips on how to successfully reach your goals this year. 

This is the time of year where most of us set the infamous "New Year's Resolution". The first and possibly most important step in reaching health and fitness success, is goal setting. 

Goal setting is a skill on it's own and if you aren't sure how to properly do this, you might be starting off on the wrong foot. 

Below we provided our best tips on how to set your goals properly and improve your chances of success this year.

1. Readiness for change.

To start you off on the right track it is important to know yourself and assess your own readiness for change.

One way to do this is to determine your level of commitment to change. If you find yourself using certain language, it can help you to determine how ready you are to adopt new changes into your life.

If you find yourself saying things like, "I wish I could get back into shape", you might not be ready for a lot of change all at once.

On the other hand, if you notice yourself saying things like, "I am committed to getting my health on track before I turn 52 in June!", you are probably ready to take on more.

Take a look at the Commitment Continuum below and try to notice which words you use more often.  

Based on what you discover, adjust your goals accordingly. The lower your level of commitment, the less you should "put on your plate". The higher your level of commitment, the more you will be able to handle. 

2. One habit at a time.

In the book The Power of Less, author Leo Babauta states that when only one habit per month is adopted one's rate of success can reach as high as 80%.

However, when people get too aggressive in adopting new habits at the same time, success rates drop to below 20%. This means that the majority of people will succeed when adopting one habit at a time. 

Taking this slower paced approach to change, in the long run (and the short term) results in essential habits that are ingrained into one's lifestyle. As the habits become a part of you, they turn into skills. These same skills are what you need to not only reach your goals, but maintain them in the future.

We've learned that the "sweet spot" for implementing new habits is one habit every 2 weeks.  

3. Goal setting

This is generally the first step in your path towards success. It is important to properly set goals to ensure your success right from the start. 

Here are some tips to follow when setting goals;

1. Put it in writing;

In order to turn a wish or a dream into a goal, you must write it down and record it. Wishes and dreams usually don't come true without a written action plan.

2. Make it specific and measurable; 

Leaning out, getting stronger, improve endurance, feeling better are too vague. For these notions to become goals they need to be more specific and measurable. Instead try; losing 10lbs of fat, improving my squat by 25lbs, add 5 minutes to my daily run or bringing my afternoon energy levels from a 4/10 to an 8/10. 

3. Use a timeline;

Without a timeline your goal is not complete. A timeline makes your goal more real and will help you achieve it by creating a sense of urgency. Instead of focusing on losing 10lbs, change it to 10lbs down in 10 weeks.  

4. It has to be realistic; 

It would be great to lose 10lbs in a week. But realistically that would depend on many variables working in your favour; like your level of commitment and prior experience (10lbs in 5-10 weeks is a more likely outcome). Your goal should be based on an accurate depiction of what it will actually take to attain your goal.  

5. It's significant to you;

If your goal is personally insignificant, you are unlikely to reach for it. If your goal means something to you, your chances of achieving it increase a lot.

Outcomes vs. Behaviours

The distinction between outcome and behaviour goals is key to your success. 

Outcome Goals

An outcome goal is the result that you intend to achieve by applying certain behaviours. An example of an outcome goal is, "I want to lose 6 inches around my waist in 12 weeks." 

It is the final outcome of a series of actions you have to carry out. In other words you are not in direct control of the achievement of that goal.

Behaviour Goals

Behaviour goals are actions that will allow you to achieve your outcome goal. One important characteristic of behaviour goals is that they are directly in your control. 

Make sure that your behaviour goals line up nicely with your outcome goals. An example that matches with our above outcome goal is, "I will do Resistance Training 3 times per week" or " I will eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day".

For every outcome goal you choose, make sure to line it up with corresponding behaviour goals.  

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Starting off on the right foot begins with proper goal setting. If you fail to do this, your chances of succeeding drop significantly. 

The better you know yourself and your readiness for change, the easier you will be able to determine your appropriate pace for changing key habits. 

Make sure to take 20-30 minutes to sit down and write out your goals. Remember if you don't write it down, it's only a wish. If you'd like help setting your goals, let us know and we'd be happy to help you. You can email us at or call us at 613-295-8080. 

Committed to your success,

The Evertrain Team  

Learn more with our other Quick-Guide posts

Design Your Own Fitness Program pt. 1

Guide to Better Squats (and Better Results)