High Pressure Goals Are Killing Your Progress

By June 5, 2017Health & Fitness

Setting goals. Ask Google how to set a goal and you will end up with thousands of pages of advice stating the same thing. They need to be S.M.A.R.T. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realist & Timely. BORING. I couldn’t think of anything worse that sitting down and writing down all that. I learned it at school, I learned it at PT school and I have learned it through many of my other studies. To be honest. I have NEVER even sat down and thoroughly gone through my goals like that, and I probably never will. Yet I still managed to achieve many of my goals. Why? Because I learned that if you have a specific set of steps written down, that don’t allow for any wavering, I end up disappointing myself if I do waver, even slightly. For example, once, I set a SMART goal:

SPECIFIC – Who, What, When? I wanted to lose 3kgs in 4 weeks.
MEASUREABLE – Can you measure the results? Yes weigh in 2 x per week
ATTAINTABLE – Will I get there in time? I thought, yes fairly easily, eat 500cals less per day.
REALISTIC – Why do you want this? Is it relevant to you? I want to look amazing in my birthday dress and I have the resources to achieve this.
TIMELY – Whens the deadline? 4 weeks.

I said to myself, “Right! This is it. 4 weeks until your birthday celebrations. I am going to go for 2 walks per week, train 5 times per week, and make sure that I eat all my meals homemade for the next 4 weeks.” Well you know what happened? The first week went to plan, I was feeling good, feeling confident. The second week came along, and there was a birthday cake at morning tea for someones birthday one day. I thought, perfect, this is my chance to prove to myself that I don’t need cake, so I sat and had my green tea, while others ate the cake. High-fives to me! Then that weekend came around, and my parents invited me over for dinner. Oh no!! My parents aren’t as health conscious as me, and I knew there would be a roast dinner with heaps of delicious roast potatoes and most likely dessert. But I rarely see my parents, so I went. I ate the roast pork, drank a glass of wine, had the dessert, all in good spirits. But then…. My good friend Guilt came to visit. She wasn’t very happy. She woke me up in the morning with negative thoughts, she followed me around all the next day telling me that I have totally ruined my progress. She called me fat in the mirror, she shook her head in disgust at my stomach rolls. I felt defeated. My rock solid plan, failed me. I failed me.

These days, my mindset is a little different. Now the goal would look like this:

SPECIFIC – Who, What, When?
MEASURABLE – Can you measure the results? How can I track my results in writing?
SUPPORT: Do I have enough support? Have I told my co-workers and my family/spouse?
PLAN – Will I get there in time? What’s the plan of action week to week? Write down steps.
REALISTIC – Can I actually achieve this with a little wavering on the way?
FLEXIBILITY – Allow tweaks to the goal. If something doesn’t go your way, how will you overcome? Write down all the possible obstacles.

Here is what my first 2 weeks might look like: Aim to train 4 times per week, walking is a bonus (don’t worry if you don’t get the walking in). I would then set a goal to stick to 19 meals out of 21 meals as homemade, and allow for 2 meals out somewhere. That way, if life pops up, I can go out and enjoy it without guilt.

Best thing I have ever done for my goals? Write down my goal in 1 or 2 words. Stick that word somewhere you will see it every day. Mine is next to my mirror (for obvious reasons). That way, whenever I am doing my makeup, brushing my hair, or taking a mirror selfie, I spot the goal, and it jots my brain.

Life never goes to plan. Yes, I might start my week thinking I can do this, I am highly motivated etc etc. But life gets in the way. You might have a meal where you ate more than what you planned and had a glass of wine too many. But you know what? The stress and guilt you feel afterwards is probably doing you more harm than the food even did. You probably ate that food in high spirits, had a great time with friends and lived your life. You might be exhausted from working a 12 hour day and not get to the gym. You know what? Studies show, that for optimal health, SLEEP is the number 1 thing you can do to improve your health. You might be working towards a heavier squat goal, and hurt your knee, take it as a part of your journey. Fix the knee, do the rehab, learn more about your knee, you may even end up with a heavier squat because you are activating the right muscles instead of your knee! So enjoy the process. You can’t expect to be perfect all the time. Enjoy the process towards your goal, every success and every setback. Learn from it, and keep trying.

At end of the day, you can never achieve a goal without change. If you aren’t prepared for a little sacrifice and to change mentally, then you simply will not achieve your goal.


Soni Jay Pukallus – P360 Coach

IG – @sonijay

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