So, how did that New Year’s Resolution work out for you? Maybe you’re still working hard to achieve your goals; if that’s the case give yourself a big pat on the back. There’s a great likelihood you worked hard to stay on track for three, maybe four weeks. It’s extremely likely that it soon became a distant dream after that initial honeymoon period. There have been a number of studies conducted in recent years to finally understand why these resolutions, for the most part, simply don’t work. Said studies generally conclude that good intentions and will power are not enough. Effective strategies make all the difference between wishing and actually achieving your goals.

The ‘Effective Strategy’ we’re looking at now is GOAL SETTING. Now, you may be reading this thinking “But I did set my goals, I knew exactly where I wanted to be”, but there’s a great chance your goals were constructed in a manner that meant achieving your “goal” was near-impossible; you were most likely setting yourself up to fail. The focus will now move away from those failed New Year’s Resolutions to the present; how can you set goals NOW to achieve the results that YOU want? Emphasizing “YOU” is really important here; these goals are your choice, your decision. YOU control the way you adapt, react, breathe and take action.

By developing the combination of correct goal setting techniques, a positive mindset, single-minded focus and unmatched work ethic, you can achieve anything you want. But you must be willing to be the hardest worker in the room. So what are these magical goal setting techniques that you must adopt? Probably some overcomplicated and time-consuming method that most people couldn’t even attempt? WRONG! Highlighted below are two approaches (and practical examples) of how to construct your goals to keep you motivated and focused throughout your journey to health.


  1. Set SMARTER goals

SPECIFIC – is it clear and concise?

MEASURABLE – can you assess your progress quantitatively?

ACHIEVABLE – is it possible? Don’t set yourself up to fail!

REALISTIC – can you dedicate enough time in each day/week/month?

TIMEBOUND – when do you want to achieve this goal by?

EXCITING – is this something worth getting out of bed for?

REVIEWED – how do you ensure you evaluate and re-evaluate your goal?



For example “I want to lose weight” is not a good goal to set. It does not adhere to any of the principles outlined above (yet it’s one I hear all the time!). On the other hand, “I want to lose 20lbs in five months so I can wear my dream dress for my friend’s wedding. I can train five times per week and I have a journal to track all of my workouts and eating habits for the duration of my journey.” Now THAT is a well-constructed goal! It’s specific – not just “losing weight”, but 20lbs exactly. It’s measurable – the most basic of bathroom scales will show you your weight. It’s achievable – with correct training and nutrition it should be possible to lose 1-2lbs per week. It’s realistic – five training days per week is possible here, more than enough time to shift those pounds! It’s time-bound – a five month timeframe has been set. It’s exciting – the chance to wear a dream outfit for such an important event; that SHOULD be exciting, right?! It’s reviewed – tracking through a journal is great to ensure you stay accountable and on track. It’s also useful if you lose sight of what you need to be doing if you lose focus! Weekly/fortnightly weights could be taken here as well as the final review at five months.




SPECIFIC – is it clear and concise?

MEASURABLE – can you assess your progress quantitatively?

ACHIEVABLE – is it possible? Don’t set yourself up to fail!

COMPATIBLE – can you dedicate enough time in each day/week/month?

KEEP IT GOING – don’t stop; it’s your goal, your dream! Put the work in to achieve it!

DOWN – write it down! Keep this written record in plain sight, maybe on the bedroom mirror or pinned to the fridge as a healthy reminder to put the work in!


This is the DDP Yoga method of goal setting. This one main difference here is the addition of writing down your goal, which could be key in ensuring you keep up the work. Make sure you see this piece of paper every day, maybe make multiple copies!

Remember, this doesn’t just apply to weight loss, it applies to everything! Aim for a PB, overcome a mental health issue, land that dream job – do the above!

There you have it, some simple yet extremely effective exercises to correctly set goals and hopefully achieve them. Another handy hint would be to work on one goal at a time. If you are following something similar to the example above, don’t also add on that you want to increase your squat by 25kg, take 2 seconds off your 100m time and be able to wrap both your legs around your head! These may be bonus by-products of the work you are doing, but that’s all they are, so don’t stress over these. If you are noticing that you are not achieving your goal, don’t worry, simply REVIEW it and ensure it truly did fit within the SMARTER/SMACKDOWN framework; maybe you were over-ambitious with your goal, maybe you could actually only train twice per week, maybe your tracking was poor – simply go back and make the relevant alterations.

Enjoy your journey and GOOD LUCK!






W| By Murray Thomson                                             @MT_Hammer88

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