It Is Never Too Late to Start Setting Goals
Goal setting does not sound too exciting of a topic. This is probably something you have always had in the back of your mind, whether at work, when tackling finances, planning home projects, or at the gym. But did you ever actually appreciate and understand the process of goal setting?
Most likely not. I know I will raise my hand to that!
But here we are, fearless and fifty. Okay, fine, maybe fearful and fifty. But nonetheless, we are here, ready to learn, and to take on our fifties. It is never too late to start setting goals.
Why should we care about goal setting?
Why am I bringing up goal setting? Because it is time we start taking care of ourselves. We have spent decades dedicating ourselves to our families and careers. Although this is worthwhile and fulfilling, we cannot continue to lose sight of who we are and get lost in the shuffle of everything going on in life.
Goal setting, when done with purpose and understanding, can be used to better ourselves both physically and mentally, literally improving our overall wellness. It has even been linked with higher motivation, self-esteem and confidence, and success.¹
Most of us ladies in our fifties are probably concerned with our health and fitness, so let’s look a little more in depth at goal setting and fitness.
Research has demonstrated that during a 6 week exercise training program, the participants that set goals had significantly higher interest and enjoyment, significantly lower pressure and tension, and had significantly greater adherence to the program compared to the other groups. This was even true 6 months after the program ended. ²
So, if you want to go further with your fitness, goals may help you get there faster and achieve better results.
Your goal is your goal and no one else’s
Now, goals and perceived levels of success have also been found to be subjective. For instance, a goal that you set for yourself, that you consider very difficult, provides you with the felt sense that you are even more successful than if you had completed an “easy” goal.¹ This makes sense, harder goals provide more fulfillment than easier goals.
However, what is important to take home from this message is that setting and reaching goals do improve your well-being but goals are also very subjective. What seems difficult to you may be easy to someone else, and visa-versa.
Don’t judge each other. Stay in your own lane, set your own goals, and don’t compare yourself to others.
Where do I start? It’s never too late to start setting goals!
At the end of the day, if we were to not even think about goals, we may stay blind to the things we actually want to achieve and experience in life. Simply pausing to set goals allows our minds and bodies to open up to things that we may not have ever thought would be achievable. Once you have a glimpse of what could be, something in your brain switches, a desire and passion evolve, and the process of goal setting can help you progress towards what you want.
“Setting goals is the first step from turning the invisible to visible.” – Tony Robbins
Are you ready to set some goals?
There are two major steps when setting goals. The first step is to really understand how to set clear, meaningful goals. The second step is the fun stuff, diving in to find out what we truly want to accomplish for ourselves. Improved self-esteem, live a healthier lifestyle, become more active, the possibilities are endless.
First step to goal setting is to know it’s never too late to start setting goals.
As I mentioned, the first step is to understand how to set achievable goals. Using the acronym SMART goals is a great starting point.
Specific- Be clear and precise on what it is you want to accomplish.
Measureable- Make it measurable so that you can track your progress overtime.
Attainable- Set goals that can be realistically completed within your ability, timeline, and resources.
Relevant- And make sure they are relevant to what you want and where you are in your journey of life.
Time bound- Ensure there is a time component to your goal so that you stay on track.
When first starting to create goals, using the SMART goal template sets you up for success. It helps to ensure that your goals are not overly broad and that there is the ability to create a plan to achieve them.
For example, having the goal to lose weight, tone up, run a 5k, eat more vegetables, or to get more sleep are all great goals. But, they lack many of the SMART goal requirements.
Instead, having the goal of running a 5k race, by January 1st, 2021, in under 35 minutes, allows you to better prepare for, plan out, execute, and reach your goal. You need to have specific details about how you are going to accomplish your goal to run a 5k. If you don’t have specifics, then you might set your goals back and eventually just stop trying.
While the SMART goal template is a great starting point, it may not be best for everyone.
Research shows that, especially with fitness related goals, creating goals based off of performance could actually result in poorer outcomes when someone does not have experience in the fitness or exercise realm.³
If exercise, fitness, or focusing on overall health and wellness is a new concept to you, you may do better with learning goals. These are goals based on forming strategies acquired or developed to accomplish a task effectively.³
An example of a learning goal, would be to run at least 20 minutes, three times a week for 4 weeks. You have no set performance to be measured and no pressure on your outcomes in this 4 weeks. The goal is simply based on doing your best to complete the work, learning how to work running into your schedule, creating the habit of running, and finding out what your true fitness levels are when it comes to running.
Maybe after reaching this learning goal, you can switch back to performance goals and then decide if you want to run that 5k or not.
Second step in goal setting
Now that you know the importance of SMART goals and performance versus learning goals, now it is time for the exciting stuff.
What do you want to improve in? Find what you are passionate about. What is something you have always wanted to do, but have not had the ability or opportunity to do?
Make a list, use a mind map, or whatever helps you to organize your thoughts. Ultimately, identify what is most important to you at this point in your life.
We have discussed fitness based goals, but your goals can also be based on other things in your life.
For example, I personally want to get more sleep each night. Sleep is so important for mental health, recovery from workouts, and so much more. So my SMART goal should be centered around sleep and could look something like this:
I will sleep at least 8 hours 4 days a week for the next month.
Once I hit this goal, I won’t just have accomplished the goal, but I will have formed better habits. The habits formed during the goal setting and executing process is what really adds value to your life. I can sleep a little more each night once I get used to going to bed a little earlier and have become more efficient in my morning routine.
Habits that form out of goal setting
Reaching your goals is just a small blimp in the grand scheme of things. Setting and achieving goals come and go so quickly. It will be the things that you learn about yourself along the way and the life changing habits that you will develop that matter most and will make the biggest impact.
“Success is the product of daily habits—not once-in-a-lifetime transformations.” – James Clear, author of Atomic Habits
Once you develop a habit, it becomes an integral part of your day. You do not question whether you will do it or not as your decision has already been made.
You can reassess and progress your goals, creating new and more challenging tasks, once your goals have been met. But, if you instead, formed habits along the way, you won’t need to! This opens up more time and space to tackle new challenges and goals!
Now that you are here, in your fifties are you ready to take back your life? Remember it’s never too late to start setting goals. Let’s improve your fitness, and live fearlessly. What will you decide to tackle first? Self-esteem, nutrition, self-care, energy, meditation, exercise….
Leave a comment on goals you have accomplished or goals that you wish to achieve. We are all here together, cheering you on.