Photo Credit: Muscle and Fitness
Often times, we choose to give up on something because the goal seems too far away. We wonder if it is worth the time, effort, and resources required to reach the goal for which we originally set out. Take weight loss for example… The reason so many people join a gym or go on a diet for their New Year’s resolution is because it is a desirable goal: lose weight and be healthier. However, the reason so many of them quit within just a few weeks is related: the desired goal seems too far away.
Why does it seem so far away?
Lack of results.
We like our results fast. We want to lose weight now, have our food order filled yesterday, and have our tax return the instant that we file it. Even when we know this is impossible, we still want it; we are growing to be less and less willing to wait or work for anything. We want what we want and we want it now.
However, fitness does not work this way; hunting does not work this way. Both require time, dedication, discipline, hard work, sacrifice, and training. This does not mean, however, that it is not worth the work. Anyone who has harvested an animal for which they had a tag or has gotten into the best shape of their life would never say it was not worth it. It is and will always be worth it.
But what do you do when the goal is so far away that it seems out of reach? You can’t imagine losing that much weight. You couldn’t dream of hiking that far while carrying a pack that weighs that much. What do you do when you are in this place? You make attainable goals by which you can see results and gain motivation to keep going.
One Step at a Time
Setting attainable goals is a systematic way of seeing results, which will motivate you to keep going. Here are a few tips for setting goals that will help you get the result you want:
1. Set short-term and long-term goals
If you have one goal (such as run a half-marathon) and you can’t even run one mile without stopping, you will get discouraged and quit. However, if your long-term goal is to run a half-marathon and you set a goal to run 3 miles, you will reach that goal much easier and the psychological affect of reaching that goal will enable and empower you to keep going until you can run 5 miles, then 8, and so on. Before you know it, you’ve reached your long-term goal because you set a series of short-term goals.
2. Have a way to measure your progress
If your goal is weight loss or muscle building, take measurements and weigh yourself weekly. This will give you something tangible by which to see the progress you are making. If your goal is a filled tag during hunting season, work on improving your fitness level while also tracking your shooting accuracy and ranges. Regardless of your goal, tracking your progress will help you to see your improvement, thus giving you the results you need to keep going.
3. Have a group (or an individual) that can motivate you
A support system is crucial in any area of life. Have someone, or a few people, who can motivate you, keep you accountable, and encourage you will be the lifeline you need to succeed. Better yet, set a goal as a group and work toward it together. This will help motivate you as you see others working alongside you toward the same goal.
4. Reward yourself when you reach your goal
Rewards give us a reason to keep going, but the reward needs to help you achieve your goal (Don’t reward yourself for losing 10 lbs by eating a pint of ice cream). Perhaps there is something you want to buy: you can set a goal and as your reward for attaining that goal you can go out and buy that item. Small things that are treated as rewards can pay big dividends in the end.
Start Out Small
The biggest thing to remember is that you need to find a way to see results in the short-term because this will help you stay motivated in the long-term. Write down your long-term goal and then make a list of 3-4 short-term goals that will end with you completing your ultimate goal. Results are the ultimate motivators because they give us a small taste of the big picture.