2014 came and went…. And with the New Year rapidly approaching, I wanted to offer some perspective for those of you setting New Year goals. We talk a lot about goals at Behemoth, but I wanted to dig a little deeper into what we’ve felt work best for our clients. Wanting something really badly hasn’t worked since you were five, so maybe it’s time to re-evaluate how we are going to kick it up a notch this year.Here are a few things I think about when setting goals.Set More Specific Goals…Being vague and general makes it extremely difficult to track your progress. Let’s say that we are planning a cross county road trip, or even headed somewhere you’ve never been. Would it be wise to jump in your car, and hope that simply because you want to get there you’ll be able to? If that were the case, then Disney World here we come! When I hear someone tell me that their goal is to “get in shape” or “lose weight”, it’s really not that much different than a driver saying, “I want to head west”.Try to be more specific on what you’d actually like to accomplish. Setting a performance oriented goal is a great start. Try setting a goal to do five unbroken, strict pull ups or add 20 lbs to your back squat. These goals are much easier to track your progress – “I was able to do 2 pull ups yesterday vs 1 last week”. Additionally, the amount of work required to accomplish your goal will require a higher level of fitness than you currently have.... With Realistic Time Frames.A proper time-frame will also make your goals more attainable. Let’s say you were trying to learn a new language. For most of us, setting a goal to master Spanish in a 30 day time frame seems pretty unrealistic. You can make some serious strides, but after a month, I highly doubt you’ll be able to fully appreciate the plot of your favorite day-time Telenovelas. The same goes for those 6 pack abs you want. Eating fewer twinkies is a good start, but in most cases it takes additional work and understanding to really move the needle. If you are planning to see a massive change in your appearance or your strength, plan to invest more than a month.Keep in mind, the point of doing a Whole30 or any other 30 day challenge is to start developing good habits. For those that have struggled with 30 day challenges in the past, perhaps 30 days is too much to bite off in the beginning. Start with a week, heck start with a day. Then build some momentum and go from there.Set Smaller Steps to Help Accomplish Bigger Goals.Try to think about failures the same way you would turn-by-turn navigation. If you take a wrong turn or miss an exit, hopefully you wouldn’t just give up and go home. There is still a path to your destination, it just looks a little different than how you first planned it. This mentality becomes much harder to do when you are consistently setting only “end point destinations” as your goals. Try setting a few steps under each of your major goals to act as stepping stones towards bigger accomplishments.For example, let’s say your goal is to “do your first pull up”. Just psyching yourself up to pull your chin over the bar most likely won’t get you there. Instead, by building lat pulling strength and grip strength independently then occasionally touching parts of the real movement (negatives, isometric holds, partner-assisted) will set you up for better success in the long run. These “micro goals” can be both mentally and physically rewarding, and may be just what you need to reach your ultimate end goal.Performance goals are easier to track and re-assess, but what about aesthetic goals? We live in a time of instant gratification and immediate results, where hard work has been shelved for pills and quick fixes. It should then come as no surprise why you get discouraged after week one, when you’re craving chocolate and still don’t fit in your skinny jeans. For body composition related goals, try to be more proactive, think “form follows function”. Try setting goals like,-I will buy a new cookbook and test out the best looking 10 recipes.-I will make a point to get an extra hour (possibly 2) of sleep every night this week.-Instead of watching TV one night, I’ll take that hour (or 2) to meal plan for the upcoming week.Although it doesn’t seem like much, these goals are relatively painless but should help to promote a healthier lifestyle.Minimize distractions and potential road hazards.First, going at it alone is always tough. Finding a coach, partner, or community to help keep you accountable is a great option. But, there will come a day you will be tested. Especially by those who don’t share the same views as you. So then give yourself a hand early on – when your motivation is high – so that you won’t break – when your motivation is low.Perhaps the easiest way to do this is to simply eliminate things (i.e. junk food in your pantry) that would lead you to act counter to your goals. But it goes further than that. When you are just starting out, that new diet or routine is different and exciting. This makes it somewhat easy to stay course at least at first. After a few weeks when you are in the trenches, you might lose sight of why you are doing this to yourself. Try writing yourself a couple of sticky notes as a reminder of WHY you are doing what you are doing. Put it somewhere you will see often – the bathroom mirror, the fridge, your work computer, your phone’s lock screen or background picture. If you can continually remind yourself of why you are working so hard, it stands to reason the tasks should be simpler.It’s All A Matter of PerspectiveDecisions seem to be much easier when you are dealing with absolutes. What if you knew for a fact that your next bite of cake would add exactly 2” to your waistline? It might be a little easier for a smoker to quit if their doctor could tell you with absolute certainty one more cigarette would be fatal.Regardless of how bad you wanted something, knowing that your life weighed in the balance should be enough to get you to stop.Well unfortunately it doesn’t work this way. I’ve heard lots of very successful people say something along the lines of, “if you want something bad enough, the work will seem easy.” I understand this to mean, if something is that important to you, you won’t be able to fail because you’ll never stop trying. Doing something slightly out of your comfort zone for 30 days, especially if it’s to greatly improve your health, should not even be a topic of debate. If you aren’t willing to sacrifice something small, for something you want, then it’s pretty straight forward…. YOU DON’T WANT IT!It seems that the older I get the more truth I find in every cliché I’ve ever heard (…sorry for not listening to you sooner, Mom and Dad). Perhaps the most appropriate at this point is the old adage, “Success is the journey, not the destination”. Although the work may be difficult at times, keeping your word and seeing something through to the end will help to define your character.