“Theodore, you have the mind, but you do not have the body.” This was the challenge Theodore Roosevelt’s father set before his son. Looking back we can see Theodore Roosevelt answered that challenge by strengthening his body masterfully! But it all started with a goal. The same applies to you: If you want to build your body—become something better—then it all starts here: set the right goal!
“The first law of success, I repeat, is to fix the right goal,” wrote Herbert Armstrong in The Seven Laws of Success. “Not any goal. One could set a goal in which he had little or no interest, and drift into inaction. The right goal will arouse ambition. Ambition is more than mere desire. It is desire plus incentive—determination—will to achieve the desire. The right goal will be so intensely desired it will excite vigorous and determined effort. It will fire one with incentive.”
How can you make sure you have set the right goal? And once you have the right goal, how can you make sure to stay on track?
Following are some tips on setting personalized goals that will fire you up with the incentive necessary for success.
1) Follow God’s Health Laws
Any goal must be based upon the foundation of God’s health laws. The way to become healthier and happier is to obey these laws of radiant health. This is the first factor to consider when choosing your goal. Make sure your goal fits within these points. (If you don’t remember these points, look back at the first article in this series.)
God will not bless your goal setting if it runs contradictory to His goals for you! This is the way to ensure God is behind you and blessing your efforts!
2) Health and Fitness Are NOT Aesthetics-Driven
This world says that to be healthy you must look a particular way. This is untrue and rooted in vanity. Aesthetics are a side benefit of being healthy; God created the human body to be pleasing to look at when healthy—but it should be an effect of realizing your goal, not the goal itself.
Everyone has a different bodily makeup, but they can be broadly categorized into three main body types.
1) Endomorph: the larger framed body type; typically holds onto weight the easiest
2) Mesomorph: builds muscle easiest; dense bone structure; large proportions
3) Ectomorph: generally tall and thin; challenging to hold onto weight
As young people, you are in the prime of your physical abilities, but many do not reach the full potential of their genetic ability because they don’t understand their own bodies.
If you have the goal to “get skinny,” that might never happen to the point that you would like because you are a body type that is more muscular and squat. To have your heart set on this society’s goal for your body is a sure path to frustration or limited results. To have the maximum success you must tailor fit your health and fitness goals to your body.
Research further into these body types and find out which one you are; often we are a mixture of them. Open another browser window and look it up. This will help you find practical ways to reach your own goals.
A very helpful mnemonic to use to be precise and realistic in your goal setting is smart: S – Specific; M – Measurable; A – Attainable; R – Relevant; T – Time-bound.
For example, let’s say that you have a goal to improve your fitness. Using the smart criterion, you will realize that it will be hard to achieve that goal unless you work with it further. A smart version of that goal may be to be able to run a 5k under 25 minutes in the next two months.
Once you have your smarter goal, run through the checklist.
Is my goal specific? Check!
Is my goal measurable? Check! I can measure it whether I complete the 5k in 25 minutes.
Is my goal attainable? Hmmm, I don’t know? Maybe you haven’t run or jogged for the past year, so this goal might not be achievable. Or maybe, you can already run it in 25 minutes. Either way, your goal should be changed so that it is attainable and yet still challenging.
Is my goal relevant? Check! If I want to be more fit for the next Philadelphia Youth Camp, setting a goal like this will be helpful!
Is my goal time-bound? Check! I have two months to complete it.
For goals to be effective, they should follow the smart formula.
Use this to evaluate how realistic your goal is. Objectively go through each of the smart points and critique your goal. This will help make your goal a commitment, and not just a nice thought.
3) Short-term Goals
The next consideration is to realize that are short-term goals and long-term goals. When dealing with your body, there will be immediate effects and long-term effects to whatever changes you may make. Short-term goals are objectives you can set every day, with every workout, meal, or challenge. You can challenge yourself to do a CrossFit workout faster, lift a heavier weight, set a personal record in a 5k, or cut processed sugar out of your diet. Short-term goals are great ways to stay motivated and challenge yourself as you march toward your long-term goal.
4) Long-term Goals Keep the Big Picture in Mind
Any goal to change your body will take time, and often time’s results require patience and persistence. Don’t give up if you don’t see any immediate benefits! If you continue to build your body, the benefits will come. Make sure you have a mindset to look for improvements over weeks, months and years—not merely hours and days.
The overall long-term goal is about having a godly lifestyle. All your health and fitness goals should have that desired result. If the goal you set really has this vision at its core, it will help you become more like God and can have eternal consequences for the better!
5) Four Areas to Target
In your goal setting, you should look to cover these four pillars of health, which will be examined later in this article series: 1) Rest; 2) Exercise; 3) Nutrition; 4) Mental outlook.
Remember that health is about balance. The proper balance in these four categories will help you reach your overall goal of a godly lifestyle much faster.
Once you set the right goals in these areas, the type of goals Mr. Armstrong described as putting a fire in your bones, write them down in a place where you can readily see and memorize them. Then get to work.
While you will probably start strong for the first couple of days, days will come when you have to struggle hard to persevere. If you do take a day off from your goal, don’t get discouraged and quit. Get back to it the very next day.
Remember: the overall right goal is a godly lifestyle. This is what you are driving toward. Accomplishing measurable goals along the way will get you there.