When we start off with the fitness thing we often have a goal in mind. We have a body shape, a dress size, a certain weight. We may have a performance goal, a weight on the bar, a speed to run 5km or aspirations to compete. Whatever the goal may be we need to have measures in place, a step by step approach so we achieve them.
Firstly I will state that a goal to me, is an outcome which an individual takes ACTION towards achieving. Without the action element it is just a dream. This is a clear distinction. Do you have goals or do you have dreams? How far you are now compared to where you were last week or last month & the actions you have taken until now will tell you this.
So now that we have that distinction made, what do? How do I make my dream a goal & how do I achieve it? Well we have to know the elements, behaviours, skills & time needed to achieve that specific goal. Running your first marathon involves a greater deal of planning than to run your first 5k and thus the strategy differs.
At the end of the day, the goal you set out will be achieved through the actions you take day in & day out. What you want to achieve may be a year long or even multi year outcome so having daily, weekly & monthly mini goals will be important for you to stay on track & know what you have to accomplish to achieve the main goal.
The reason we want these mini goals is not only for a sense of accomplishment & to know we are ticking the boxes but it also brings us to engaging & enjoying the process. If you have 20kg of body fat to lose but all you are focused on is getting rid completely of 20kg & how long that takes you may fall off track a few times & prolong the outcome you want. If you celebrate the small wins, losing 0.5kg or 1kg a week & watch those build up over the weeks then that will keep you motivated & on track.
I usually recommend people set these mini goals daily. Now these mini goals do not sound like anything groundbreaking, it’s not a secret sauce to reach your goal. The mini goals are often the fundamental things we should do each day because while they are the basics, not many people have their basic principles mastered. When you have basics mastered, that’s when you can get more detailed.
Basic daily actions such as;
Eat 4-5 servings of high quality protein per day equating to 1.6-3.3g/kg of body weight
Hit your daily calories
Eat 5-10 servings of fruit & veg
Drink 1L of water per 23kg of body weight
Sleep 7-9hrs a night
Maintain a high step count
Track your workouts in a logbook
Track body weight
Measure your progress - whichever KPI you need to achieve your goal
A lot of these are going to be linked to most if not all goals when it comes to improving your health, body composition & performance. They seem insignificant but compounded over time they add up & ultimately lead to you reaching your goal.
Let’s take a hypothetical case scenario below. Who is the person, establish the goal, our key performance indicators (KPI) & the daily actions they need to do to get closer to that goal.
25 year old male
Works an office job
Trains 3x a week
Little to no activity outside of the gym
Wants to lose weight (~10kg) & improve body composition
No experience with tracking nutrition & minimal education
Body circumference measurements
The Daily Checklist
Measure scale weight first thing in the morning. Before food & fluid, after going to the bathroom.
Eat 4 meals per day - eg. breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack
Eat 1-2 portions (25-50g) of protein from lean sources such as chicken, beef, eggs or supplementation.
Eat 5-10 servings of fruits & vegetables of varying color per day spread across meals.
Prioritise whole sources of carbs such as brown pasta, rice, whole wheat bread, white potato having a serving with each meal.
Use fats sparingly & have a thumb sized portion with each meal - oils, nuts, avocado, butters.
Eat meals with no distractions & chew food slowly.
Quantify step count & increase it by 500-1000 steps each week until you reach 10-12k steps per day. Taking the stairs, walking on lunch breaks, walking to work if possible, 10-20 mins on the treadmill after workout.
Track your workouts in your logbook - weights used, reps, sets, difficulty & time to completion.
Sleep 7-9hrs a night to ensure healthy metabolism, efficient cell function & optimal recover & rebuild processes.
Circumference measurements & pictures each week, same day & same time.
Review week & ensure all daily actions were taken
Evaluate progress towards the main goal for the week with the KPIs. Did your average scale weight decrease to last week? Did your measurements change? Can you see changes in the pictures?
If weight loss is the outcome perhaps you will decide you want to lose X amount a week, that compounded leads to the big loss.
If no change in either KPI, a drop in calories may be needed.
Have you completed all weekly tasks?
Review the month, see if progress has been made across KPIs, decide whether the approach needs adjustments from these.
Set a new monthly weight loss target & weekly rate of loss if needed.
So as you can see, a huge part of achieving the end goal is continual monitoring, data collection, assessing & reviewing. And it really can’t be stressed enough that without doing the daily, weekly & monthly actions, we cannot assess them & adjust the approach to get closer to the goal. It is a scientific & quantitative approach which you refine over time & improve.
You can only manage what you measure so what are you managing & measuring right now? Are there holes in your approach or do you even know where to start?
This stuff takes time because we often know what to do & how to do it but we can get in the way of ourselves. We are ambivalent towards doing something new, we are afraid of failing, we are afraid of facing up to maybe the weight on the scale or the hole we have gotten into with our nutritional behaviours and that is ok. Growth comes from swallowing the pill & facing down the things that truly scare you. Remember, you are doing this because you want to be a better you, you want more for yourself but to do that first you have to take action.
Turn your dream into a goal. Smash the goal. Repeat x infinity.
What is your checklist right now? Let me know!