Goal Setting and finding your why.

With training and diet people that have goals to reach will always be more successful than those who don’t. Goals keep you honest, give you direction, keep your focus when motivation wanders and keep you on the right path.

I’ve said it before and I’ll no doubt say it again, my ideal client is a woman getting in shape for her wedding. That’s a goal that drives women to the point of doing WHATEVER it takes. Nobody will train as hard and be as strict with their nutrition as a woman who needs to drop two dress sizes to fit into a dress on the biggest day of her life.

The goal for a wedding has it all.

  • It’s specific – “I need to be a size 6 to fit into my dress.”
  • It’s measurable – “I’m a size 10 now, i need to drop two dress sizes.”
  • It’s attainable – a woman will never order a dress she hasn’t a hope of fitting into
  • It’s realistic – two dress sizes isn’t the end of the world
  • It’s time bound – there is a definite deadline by which the goal has to be reached

So when setting goals they need to be SMART

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time bound


I’ll give another example. This January, I was entered into the IPF Leinster open powerlifting championships in the 105kg class…in mid December I weighed 117.5kg. By one week away from the competition I weighed 111kg. One day before I had to weigh in I was 108.4kg. Now bearing in mind I had to be under 105kg to be able to lift in my weight class. I weighed in at 104.8kg on the day. Now, by no means am I advocating that what I did was smart, or that it worked (most people know that I completely bombed on the day from a combination of dehydration, exhaustion and cramping. But I set a goal, I stuck to the plan and I made it…regardless of how stupid that may have been.

During that last week of that cut it was brutal. I was constantly hungry, dehydrated, sleeping while wrapped in clingfilm, spending an hour solid in a sauna, having 8 piping hot Epsom salt baths a night…it was not a pleasant experience to say the least…but I got through.

“Most people that walk into the gym just want to get in “better” shape. Usually the first thing I ask them is to define what that means to them and when they want to be that way”

I had set a specific goal that I knew was achievable and had an end date. With that you can stick to a plan.

Most people that walk into the gym just want to get in “better” shape. Usually the first thing I ask them is to define what that means to them and when they want to be that way. Whether that’s losing a stone in a month or gaining 2 stone in 3 months. You need to be specific about your goals.

How strong is your why?


What’s your reason for doing this? What’s your motivation? Why are you looking to achieve this goal?

If you don’t have a why, you’d better figure out what it is. My “why” when I first lost weight was two fold. My mother told me I was the fattest player on the rugby pitch and a girl I was seeing giggled at the way my belly moved when I took off my top…that’s a pretty solid why right there.

“Your why has to be stronger than your excuses”

Now everybody spouts this “love yourself regardless of anything,” stuff these days and that’s all well and good. But anger, and bitterness are very, very powerful motivating tools.

When your motivation wavers a strong “why” will keep you going.

Motivation is always short lived and fleeting. Your why has to be stronger than your excuses to get you through. On cold horrible, rainy mornings when you want nothing more than to stay in bed a “why” that resonates with you will get you out of bed and keep you encouraged to kick the day in the dick (thanks Matt Vincent for that quote).

When motivation wavers, the deadline is looming and you want nothing more than to give up, remember why you started. Remember your “why.”

A strong WHY and a SMART goal will take you further than you thought you could go when times get hard.

Once one goal has been smashed, make another. Don’t rest and look back and be proud of what you’ve done. Be ruthless, be determined, find another challenge and let it consume you. Find another “Why.”


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