The Key to (Finally) Accomplishing Your Goals in 2018

By January 6, 2018Blog

Learn to set higher quality goals and take massive action so you’ll finally move towards something greater this year.

It’s that time when everyone is thinking about the year ahead and wondering what the next 365 days will hold.

This time of year always creates excitement and speculation as to what you can accomplish with the blank slate that lies ahead of you, untouched and as yet unblemished.

A lot of fitness professionals are of the belief that all this resolution talk is bullshit, and I’ve said the same in the past. But I’ve come around in my thoughts, understanding that allowing people to wander and dream is an important part in helping them figure out what they want.

But, I think most people set shitty goals and once the luster of the new year wears off and a few setbacks have been endured, the magic is gone and so is their dream.

So how can you make this year different? How will you create the future you want using this excitement you’ve built up over the past couple weeks of holidays?

It starts with setting better goals and it ends with taking massive action day in, day out towards those goals.

One Day…

This all comes back to the featured quote at the beginning of this article. Too many New Year’s Resolutions are more like dreams than they are goals.

“One day, I’d like to…”

“ This year, I’m going to…”

This is far too abstract to promote any real, sustainable change. Your brain needs something more concrete. Your brain needs to truly fear something, like missing a deadline or needing to pay a fine.

Do you ever notice how you always ‘perk up’ when your loved ones drop hints about what they like around Christmas? They could say they love a certain brand of perfume in March and you wouldn’t even flinch. But they say the same thing in November and the sirens are going off.

Why? Because you don’t want to be sitting there on Christmas morning watching them open a package of socks and waiting for the tirade to come your way when you open an amazing, thoughtful gift.

There’s a hard deadline and a concrete punishment.

Your Next 90 Days

So how do you go about doing this?

Well, a goal involves two distinct components:

  • An outcome that you want to accomplish.
  • A deadline for said accomplishment.

For example, a resolution or dream would read, “This year, I want to lose a few pounds.

While it does have a December 31st deadline in theory, that’s never stated and the deadline is so far away you could technically start in October and still have a chance at success.

You also don’t give yourself an actual number to hit. What will be a success? 3 pounds, 10 pounds? What will be a failure, other than gaining weight?

Using that same example, a goal would read more like, “I’m going to lose 10 pounds by March 30th.”

Let’s look at those two components again:

  • An outcome: I’m going to lose 10 pounds
  • A deadline: by March 30th

I mentioned punishment in the last section, and I want to touch on it here for you.

You will be exponentially more effective at reaching your goals if you build in a punishment that comes with not reaching them.

Think about an act that will really sting. If it’s a quarterly goal, this should be something pretty substantial whereas a weekly goal might be something a little smaller.

For example, my bi-weekly goals often have a punishment such as no coffee for a week. While it’s painful and would be horrible, it’s not that bad. My 6-month goal, however, is that I have to transfer the $365 that the Wolverine 1000 Mile Boots would cost to my accountabilibuddy. If I meet my goal, I get to buy them.

The final stage of setting quarterly goals involves breaking those outcome goals up into bite-size chunks.

It’s important to realize that you cannot control an outcome goal. You can do everything right over the next three months and not lose ten pounds.

But if you hit your process goals, I can guarantee you’ll be well on the way to getting there, or at the very least figuring out what works and what doesn’t.

Every. Single. Day.

So how do you break up your outcome goals?

Well, you can’t control the outcome but you can control the process, so ask yourself what are three things I can do every day (or every week) that I know will get me closer to my goal?

To return to our weight loss example, three process goals could be:

  1. Circuit training three days a week
  2. Track nutrition every day
  3. Get 8 hours of sleep every night

Now, each day you take an action step towards success that can be documented and becomes a consistent reminder of your success.

One week = 17 small wins.

Four weeks = 68 small wins.

Three months = 204 small wins.

That’s a lot to get excited about and allows you a little leeway if you miss a day here and there. But the key is in the consistency, and constant reinforcement of the process will keep you laser focused.

The Shotgun vs. The Sniper Rifle

Another common problem is that of setting too many goals during this magical time of year.

You want everything and, given another 365-day lease on life, you want it all now. You’re excited and you want the best for yourself and your loved ones in every aspect of life.

So if we were to look at success as hitting a bullseye on a shooting target, your taking a big, old shotgun, pointing it somewhere near the direction of success, and firing hundreds of pellets in every direction.

Instead of being a shotgun, I want you to become a high powered, highly specialized sniper rifle.

Pinpoint accuracy focused on one tiny aspect of the shooting target. Nothing but the bullseye sneaks into that sightline, and when you pull the trigger, that bullet is headed straight where you want it to.

What do I mean by this?

A couple years ago, I sat down near the end of December to think about what I wanted to accomplish over the next year. I hummed and hawed and broke it up into categories such as business, personal and fitness.

After about an hour, I had a sheet full of goals. I probably had over 20 goals written down and absolutely no plan as to how to make them happen.

And too many goals, even if using the correct formula, leads to a proverbial shitshow and dilutes your efforts.

So what are one or two keystone goals that, if accomplished, will lead to success in all other areas of your life?

That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it?

Take all the things you want to accomplish and narrow them down to a couple of key outcomes that, if they’re accomplished, everything else will fall in line.

Then, create your process goals based on those outcomes and you have yourself a clear roadmap to the next 90 days of your life.

As you can see, New Years Resolutions aren’t easy to accomplish by any means. That’s probably why a tiny percentage of people actually follow through on theirs.

But a systematic approach that’s broken down into specific, action-based process goals will give you every opportunity to reach those outcome goals.

So what are your goals this year? What do you next 90 days look like? I’d love it if you dropped a comment or fired me an email (remember that accountability thing?).

To 2018 being your year,


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Gavin McHale

Author Gavin McHale

Online training and nutrition coach, retired semi-pro hockey goalie, and ex-skinny kid. Currently a beer league superstar, and lover of lifting heavy things, Gavin will help you reclaim that athletic, dead sexy body, and shrink your clothing budget. Because tarps are always optional.

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