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January 22, 2014

The Power of Setting Goals

By Michael Hughes

I love the start of a new year. You don’t know who will approach you with an incredible idea, what curveballs you will have a chance to bat against, or how the new year’s events will mold and change you. It’s full of possibility.

With possibility comes the opportunity to dream big, make plans, and create a framework for success in each new year. The excitement inherent to the start of a year is the perfect time to set goals.

Goal Setting in All Domains of Life

As an owner of a fitness facility, you may expect me to largely encourage health and fitness related goals in this blog. In fact the top New Year’s Resolution in 2012 was “lose weight”. But as a believer that true health spills over from the physical into mental and spiritual dimensions, I prefer goal setting to be truly holistic and hit on all key domains of life.

For the past 6 years, thanks to the guidance of a trusted mentor and friend, I have gone through an annual goal setting process every year in January. We meet weekly year round, but at least 2-3 meetings in January revolve around what specific and actionable goals I will commit to achieving in the new year. I always set personal goals in the following life domains:

  1. Spiritual (faith, beliefs)
  2. Personal (health, finances, travel, hobbies, habits)
  3. Relational (marriage, family, friends)
  4. Professional (career direction, continued education, opportunities)
  5. Community (service outreach, networking, neighborhood)

For every domain above, I evaluate four key questions: what is working, what is not working, what is confusing and what is missing? From this point on, I create specific goals that I know are possible for me to achieve in 12 months, but are also a stretch for me to accomplish.

3 Steps that are Essential to Activating Your Goals

You’ve probably heard that there is a positive correlation between writing down goals and actually achieving them. That’s certainly been my experience. In preparing this blog, I came across research I put even more stake in. There has been research done to prove there are three keys to seeing your goals come to fruition over time.

1. Write them down

It may seem like a homework assignment, but taking the time to write down goals allows you to focus on what you are thinking about and the wording of each goal truly forces you to grapple with what you are actually going to commit to.

2. Accountability

Not everyone gets to meet with a mentor weekly, but the value of having someone give you advice who has more experience in living a full life while achieving success is valuable. I encourage you to find someone older and wiser than you, someone you trust and someone who you will listen to especially when they disagree with you.

3. Public Commitment

Once finalized, send your goals to several people close to you and ask them to check in with you periodically to see where you are against these goals. The same pressure you feel when others are watching you can create a positive urgency to your commitment to succeed.

Discipline Yourself to Succeed

People ask me often where I got the name Gymnazo. It’s a Greek word that when translated means “to exercise so as to discipline oneself.” I do believe that the same focus and intention that makes our members successful in fitness is the same that makes people successful in all areas of their lives. We only get one body, and one life to live. There is a solemness to that and a responsibility.

I am proud of every member of ours who walks through our doors consistently, with focus, determined to conquer every physical challenge we throw at them. I am proud of every coach/staff member we employ who individually go through this same goal setting process in their personal lives. The attention they pay to their individual goals only make us collectively stronger.

The common bond I see at our facility is discipline. It is unmistakable and noteworthy.

Here’s to Goal Setting in 2014!

We are almost 1/12th of the way through 2014. It’s hard to imagine, but it’s not too late to take yourself out for a beer or coffee and spend some time crafting your goals for 2014.

With the right focus and intention in this process, and setting yourself up for success by writing them down, finding accountability and making a public commitment, I have no doubt 2014 will be an incredible year. Let’s make it the year we discipline ourselves to strive for more than having fun, more than surviving, but for truly thriving this year.

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