Why do you participate in the daily activities that you do? Some are out of necessity, some by choice, but understanding the purpose of these activities can make them more bearable or more enjoyable. Last month, I challenged you to search deep down and discover your why. Asking questions like, “Why is this important to me?” “Why do I enjoy this?” and “What do I want?” are great starting points and lead us into the next progression of understanding our motivation: effective goal-setting. People continuously fail to reach their goals because they lose motivation along the journey. One main cause is because we do not understand why we want those goals. Many of us set resolutions because we believe that you should or must or that “it’s the thing to do”. You are not going to put forth the necessary effort toward things we do not care about, therefore understanding your why is extremely important. Another main cause for this is due to a lack of preparation and organization. We may understand why we want to lose 10 pounds, but we don’t know how to lose 10 pounds. The average individual would say, “Go to the gym” or “Eat healthier”. However, going to the gym once per week is technically “Going to the gym”, so we need to define the necessary steps we must take in order to accomplish our goals. Effective goal setting consists of setting three types of goals: outcome, performance, and process goals. An outcome goal represents a result in you, something you want to accomplish. We start with the end result because it allows us to develop a plan to reach our goal. That plan begins by setting performance goals, which focus on improvements that one must make or checkpoints you want to complete along the journey. For example, if my goal is to lose 60 pounds by the end of the year, I could set checkpoints of losing five pounds a month. Finally, a process goal represents specific procedures that you will incorporate into your daily routine to help reach your performance goals, or an action plan, with extreme emphasis on the word process. If my outcome goal is lose 60 pounds this year, my performance goal could be to lose five pounds per month, and my process goals could include exercising five times a week, following a meal plan five days a week, running seven miles a week, anything along those line would constitute as process goals. The process is the most important part toward accomplishing our goals, however, nobody likes the process. This takes hard work, determination, dedication, and energy! Nothing will be given to you; you have to go and obtain it for yourself. I was always known as a “bigger” kid growing up. I weighed nearly 13 pounds at birth, garnering the nickname Baby Buddha, and that carried throughout high school and the early years post-high school. In 2010, I weighed close to 250 pounds and was near 35% body fat. I was extremely self-conscious about my weight; I lacked confidence, and was unhappy with the way I looked. With the guidance of a friend and co-worker, I set out to shed the excessive weight and make a change in my life. My outcome goal was to be near 200 pounds and under 20% body fat. The performance goals were to a stick with a macro-nutrient-based regimen six days per week, increase my cardiovascular activity to twice per week, and workout at least five times per week. My process goals were having biweekly photos to track progress, constant reiteration of why I wanted to lose the weight, and to meal plan several days in advance. In just about three months, I weighed 210 pounds and had my body fat down to around 20%. Not only did I look different, but I felt better than I had ever felt in my life. I was confident, I wasn’t as self-conscious, and most importantly, I was happy. Breaking down your goals into outcome, performance, and process goals increases your ability to obtain your goals. By bringing awareness to what needs to change, or what you want your “performance” to look like, and how you plan on making these changes, what process you must take, gives you a clearer picture on what needs to be done to achieve those goals. There will be obstacles and challenges along the way, preparing for those situations is the next step in the preparation of accomplishing your goals and dreams.