Stop dreaming of a better physique '" and start building one. Here are the 6 key steps to goal-setting success.
When it comes to
, not everyone is lucky
enough to have Mickey Goldmill screaming in his ear. The cranky owner
of a decrepit Philly gym had Rocky Balboa eating lightning, crapping
thunder, and punching his way to the heavyweight championship of the
You, however, live in the real
world. Your wife may yell at you to take out the garbage, and the guy
you cut off on the freeway may hurl an obscenity or two your way, but
you're not likely to have a Mick to rely on to give you constant verbal
prodding. For you, motivation must come mainly from within.
Of course, merely having a
raspy-voiced curmudgeon with a penchant for colorful commentary and
unorthodox training methods isn't enough to accomplish your aims and
inspire you to greatness anyway. More important is a specific plan of
attack '" and to that end,
following six-step strategy will give you a puncher's chance of
emerging victorious in the pursuit of your own fitness ambitions.
1) Decide on your long-range goal ... and write it down
Comparing this step to trying to get from point A to B without a map
may not resonate with most men '" "Directions? I don't need no stinkin'
directions!" '" but even the most hardheaded would have to admit you at
least need to know your destination in order to ultimately get there.
What exactly do you want? Twenty inch arms? To be 200 pounds with under
4% body fat? The fitness level to complete a triathlon? Think about it
carefully, and once you have your goal in mind, write it down, along
with a reasonable date you would like to achieve it, and keep the paper
in a location where you will see and review it often. You can make
multiple copies, perhaps taping one of those copies to the front of
your training log.
2) Break down that main goal into smaller components
Now that you have a long-range goal, break it down into smaller measurable and
each with a time component that in the end brings you to your main aim.
For instance, If you want the aforementioned 20-inch arms, you
obviously first need to measure both arms to see where you're starting.
If you're at 16 '" the circumference measured at the tallest peak of
your biceps, arm flexed '" and two years is your timeline, your
short-term goals may be an inch every six months (or a half-inch every
three). An overriding concern is to keep your objectives achievable.
Gaining 20 pounds of muscle in a month, or running a record time in a
half-marathon in three months when you haven't even begun a regular
running program, is unrealistic and will only lead to frustration and
3) Announce your intentions
a lot easier to give up and fail to achieve a goal if you're the only
one who knows about it. To put some pressure on yourself to stick to
it, tell your friends and family about your ambitions. Once others are
aware, you'll be driven to not publicly fail in their eyes. It may be a
dirty trick to play on yourself, but it's an effective one '" and it
certainly can't hurt to have the support of friends and family along
4) Post a visual reminder
On the fridge or other prominent place that you'll see often, place a
photo from a magazine of the physique you ultimately want to build.
Then, next to it, place a current photo of yourself, and update it
every two to four weeks. It may be a constant reminder of a harsh
reality, but if you choose an "ideal" that's achievable '" which for
most of you means you should be choosing a model out of Men's Health
and not a pro bodybuilder '" and you stick to your training and
nutrition program, the changes will come.
5) Commit to a training partner
It's not always possible, but if you can find someone with similar
goals who will work out with you, you stand a much better chance of
reaching the finish line. Knowing someone is counting on you, is
waiting at the gym for you in those early morning hours when you're
tempted to hit snooze and roll over, who's enduring the same
nutritional restrictions, will serve as a daily motivation to not throw
in the towel.
6) Review your progress
So many people set a goal, and then let it slowly slide out of mind as
the daily rigors of life push it into oblivion. That's why the steps
outlined here ask that you place the written goal in areas of
prominence. "Out of sight, out of mind" may be a tired clich