Goal Setting For 2015

By Dennis Lawson
Published on Dec 14th, 2014

As 2014 comes to an end and we enjoy the holiday season, we inevitably move into the “New Year’s Resolution” season. Many of us set goals for the New Year only to abandon them within the first 90 days. Our goals for ourselves, our studios, or our students can end up in that same pile of unopened workout DVDs and underused exercise equipment if they aren’t SMART goals. To learn more about setting SMART goals, I suggest you read The MALC article “Do You Have SMART Goals” by Lela Simon, certified Personal Trainer.This article will focus on helping you create a plan of action and making your commitment to change a reality. 

First, post your targets. Let’s say your goal is to walk 3 miles at each outing a minimum of 3 days a week (burning approximately 900 calories). Find a place that your eyes will scan each day. Whether it’s posted on your bathroom mirror, your computer terminal at work, or your refrigerator, write your goal down and post it where you will see it every day.  Seeing the commitment you made everyday reinforces the new direction you’ve set for yourself. 

Next, keep a written daily plan. This is a secret technique used by professionals in many fields to accomplish those targets they’ve set. Changes are more easily measured, monitored, and met when we pay attention to them each and every day. A daily review allows you to cut a really big goal into “bite sized” pieces. Pushing this metaphor, let’s say your goals this year is to lose 100 pounds. This can be overpowering just thinking about it! You could spend all year just looking for the perfect diet and exercise plan. Instead, cut the challenge into “bite sized” chunks which you can evaluate every day.

 Here’s the idea: (Please don’t take this example as “your plan”. Consult a physician before starting any diet or exercise plan. Your doctor can tailor a plan for your personal needs.) One pound is equal to approximately 3,500 calories. Most people can safely lose one to two pounds per week. So I’ll need to burn off, or not take in (eat or drink) 7,000 calories each week. With 52 weeks in a year, this plan even allows for – Avoid Burnout – give yourself a break (see below). One hundred pounds is equal to 350,000 calories, with 365 days in a year, that’s less than 1,000 calories per day. To reference our walking model above, I could walk 3 miles every day and burn that off. Of course, a combination of eating less and exercising more is the best method for weight loss. My food choices are particularly important. After all, an apple is about 100 calories, while a slice of pepperoni pizza runs about 300 calories!

Whatever your goal, you’ll need some way to monitor your progress. Whether it’s a weekly weight in, a pedometer showing the steps you’ve taken, or a certain number of repetitions of a given exercise, you’ll want to measure and note your progress. This will give you a feeling of accomplishment and underpin your goal when the “going gets tough”. Here again, use your daily plan and regularly monitor your progress. These are essential to charting your progress toward your goal.

Discuss your goals with friends and family. You’ll benefit from the support of others. Group support is essential to create real changes in your life. Naysayers and critics are not your friends, though they may well be family. So, avoid the pessimists and share your goals with only those who support your new direction for life change.

 Reward yourself for progress. Set a timeframe to achieve a certain level of progress. When you reach that short term or intermediate goal – celebrate! By celebrating small victories you’ll reinforce your direction. Celebrating, a party or special night out, are great ways to have your supportive friends participate in your evolution. 

Giving yourself a break along the way is essential to avoid burnout. You posted your targets. You know your level and pace of progress through your daily plan and monitoring system. Your friends and family have given you their full backing. This structure that you’ve built can support you and get you back on track after taking a well-deserved break or dealing with sickness or injury. Remember, a year is a long time. It’s not a speed race, even if that’s what you’re training for, it’s a marathon – you’re in for the long haul. 


Filed under Philosophy and Opinion

Author Bio :: Dennis Lawson

Dennis Lawson has trained for 4 decades in Ed Parker's Kenpo. During his varied career, Mr. Lawson has been an IKKA Regional Director for Region #3, has acted as Master of Ceremonies for the International Karate Championships, and has published numerous articles in publications for the International Kenpo Karate Association, The Martial Arts Learning Community (TheMALC), and Kenpo 2000.

Mr. Lawson has had the opportunity to study other Martial Arts and holds advanced rank in Aikido and Takemusu Aiki Budo. Dennis taught, competed in, and promoted events in the New Orleans area for 20 years. Among his list of favorite achievements is choreographing and performing Kenpo for the Dance Council of New Orleans. His academic background in psychology and love of music allow Dennis to offer a unique and entertaining approach to tailoring "the Art" to the individual. Dennis has taught seminars in Ireland, Jersey Channel Islands, The Netherlands, Portugal, and throughout the United States.

Dennis holds a Sixth Degree Black Belt in Ed Parker's Kenpo and was awarded the title “Professor” under the auspices of The Martial Arts Learning Community (TheMALC). Mr. Lawson was inducted into the International Black Belt Hall of Fame as Master Instructor of the Year for 2006.

Other Articles by Dennis Lawson

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