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Let’s start with the simple stuff, setting a training goal. For many populations have the similar goal to increasing strength and muscle mass, but how do we refine this broad goal to a specific goal that can be monitored, measured and actually mean something to you?

Follow these steps and you will learn how to set optimal goals and achieving results.

Set Moderately Challenging Goals

First thing you need to do is pick a goal that is moderately challenging. This is very important; something that is either too hard or too easy will lead to low motivation to pursue the goal. I like to think about it like this, setting a goal like “I will get up and walk across this room once today” is too easy and simple anyone can do it and you won’t feel a sense of accomplishment by achieving it. And conversely, setting a goal like this “today I will go run 3 marathons and do a two hour yoga class while learning Spanish” is way too challenging and unachievable therefore you may not even feel like starting. We want to set a goal in that “goldy lock” zone, not too hard but not too easy just challenging enough that we feel a sense of accomplishment when we achieve it, but also simple enough that we can have confidence in our ability to finish what we set out to do.

Let’s now go back to our original goal from before and apply this principal and see what our goal looks like.


Set Short and Long Term Goals

Secondly we look to set a larger long term and big vision goal, then break this long term goal up into a few shorter term goals that assist in the pursuit of the long term goal achievement. Each of the short term goals we achieve adds to our sense of achievement and confidence that we can achieve the larger long term goal, think of them a little motivation boosters.

Lest now apply this principal and see how our goal evolves.


Set Absolute Goals

The third part of optimal goals setting is setting a goal that is absolute and not relative. This means instead of saying “do your best” or “do better than you did last time” you should set a target number and strive for it. Setting an objective outcome based marker leads to the greatest quantitative increases in performance.

Let’s adjust our goal to see what an absolute marker would look like.


Make Your Goal Public

Now we have set an absolute moderately challenging goal with both long and short term components, the final part of optimal goal setting is to make our goal public.

By letting the people in your social circle, your coaches and trainers know what you intend to achieve and how you intend to do it, you will feel accountable to yourself and your word. This accountability also builds a sense of social pressure and expectation from those around you, this is a very useful tool and will motivate you feel like being lazy.

People you should tell your goal to: Everyone!

Try these 4 simple goal setting principals and start achieving the result you are looking for!


  1. B Kyllo and D Landers, Goal Setting in Sport and Exercise: A Research Synthesis to Resolve the Controversy, Journal Sports and Exercise Psychology

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