ATLETA Fitness

Effective Goal Setting for Health and Wellbeing

Goal setting is one of the most commonly overlooked aspects of training. Training without setting goals is similar to building a house without a plan. Yes, it might still work; but how can you measure success when there are no initial objectives to compare against?

Goal setting is not only an important factor for athletic performance, but also for many other aspects of life. Work, health, financial and even relationships can all benefit from goal setting. Effective goal setting will not only help to improve your fitness progression, but also your mental wellness and life quality.

Optimized-Group_runningGoals can be divided into 3 categories (based on purpose and significance) into process goals, performance goals and outcome goals.

Process Goals:

Process goals are the smallest steps on your path towards a large outcome or result. Process goals take into account small and controllable factors of your performance. Process goals could encompass such things as gym training load (length, intensity, and frequency), fitness training specificity (specific to your performance goal), writing a personal budget, going surfing 3 times each week or running a certain amount of kilometers each week. By achieving your process goals, you are taking a major step towards reaching your performance goals.

Performance Goals:

Performance goals are our next step up from process goals. Many process goals act as stepping stones towards performance goals. Things such as training load and writing a proper budget can help you to improve your strength and fitness, or to save up more money. Examples of performance goals (continuing from the above process goals) could be to run 5km in under 20 minutes, to squat 50 kilograms for 12 reps, to lose 1kg over the next 2 weeks or to land a surfing aerial maneuver.

Outcome Goals:

Outcome goals are the ultimate result that your process and performance goals are aimed towards achieving. Outcome goals are, however, dependent on extrinsic (outside) factors. In sport, factors such as opposing athletes, playing conditions and daily variation of performance (to name a few) can drastically alter our ability to achieve these outcome goals. Outcome goals (again from the above process and performance goals) could include; increase lean body mass by 4kg, lose 10kg body mass, put a deposit on a house, win a local surfing competition or finishing in the top 10 places of a fun run.


Above we can see process goals leading into performance goals, finishing with an outcome goal

It is a good idea to structure your goals in a pyramid shape, with a large base of process goals, leading into a moderate helping of performance goals, and reaching the top of the pyramid with a small handful of outcome goals. As you go up the pyramid, your goals become less intrinsically controllable and become more dependent on external sources of input. Similarly, the higher up the pyramid you go, the larger the time-frame for goal completion gets. Where process goals might only take a few weeks, outcome goals could take an entire year or more.

We now know what kinds of goals we have; now how do we tailor each goal to our individual objectives and abilities? The answer is SMART goal-setting.

S. Specific:

Your goals need to be specific to your personal situation; be this objectives,restrictions or limitations.

M. Measurable:

You need to be able to measure your progress towards a goal, be it through quantifiable or non-quantifiable parameters.

A. Attainable:

You need to be able to achieve your goal. The goal must be an existing and attainable platform or achievement.

R. Realistic:

Your goal needs to be a plausible goal to achieve. There is no use aiming to run a 2 hour marathon if you’ve never run 30km straight before.

T. Timely:

Your goals need to have specific time-frames. When are you going to achieve this goal by?

Optimized-Chick rowingWe know the ‘what’, ‘how’ and the ‘when’ of goal setting, and everyone should understand their personal ‘why’. Now there’s one final piece of the puzzle to cover. This piece may also be the most important. Goals need to be continually re-evaluated and adjusted. There’s no point setting yourself a huge goal, then fall short of achieving it, just to then scrap it and move on as if nothing happened. We need to adjust our goals. Goals can be made smaller (or larger), or used as stepping stones to another goal. Continually readjust and reevaluate your goals to make the most out of them, and make sure you can keep yourself accountable to your goals. It’s even a great idea to share your goals with someone, such as a trainer or a loved one, and let them help to keep you on track to succeed in your goals.

So get out there, set your goals high and start working towards them. Determination and perseverance will get you where you’re going. Personal trainers can be an incredibly useful tool in setting and achieving your goals, so why not contact ATLETA today and let our expert trainers help you to achieve your greatest goals.

Written by Johann Ruys

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