How To Set & ACTUALLY Achieve Your Goals

If I’m really honest about my qualification as Personal Trainer (I really hate that name, but that’s what the damn paper certificate says), there wasn’t a huge amount of the Certificate 3 and 4 in Fitness that I found to be highly valuable. Most of what I know and use has come about through my own research and experience outside of that initial course, and I would say that the same would be true for the people within the industry who I respect and admire

There was however, a handy tool that I learned on that course and that I still use to this day

Like any legitimate method, it was developed based on a catchy acronym (the irony is REAL). It is the ‘S.M.A.R.T’ rule when applied to setting goals
The rule gives a structure to use when setting a goal and it makes it quite simple. The acronym breaks down like so:
S pecific
M easurable
A chievable
R ealistic
T imed

In terms of setting a goal and achieving it, sticking to this rule is one of the most sure-fire things you can do
Specific: this is a huge one. All the pros get specific when it comes to MOST things. An example of how this would apply to your goal would be ‘chin up x 1’ rather than ‘chin up’. Or ’20s freestanding handstand’ rather than ‘handstand’

The more specific you can be the better, and in my experience the more likely you are to achieve your goal

Measurable: ‘get stronger’ or ‘improve flexibility’ are both examples on NON-specific goals. ‘Deadlift 160kg’ or ‘touch same side elbow to toe’ are both examples of measurable goals (that stay true to the two former less specific examples)

Measurable means it needs a metric by which you can measure the damn thing

Achievable: your goal should be achievable through some foreseeable timeframe. There is nothing wrong with setting really long term goals, but from all of my experience, and from those who I look to for guidance in such matters, a short term goal ALWAYS works better than a long term goal (who know what life will throw at you? Plan in the short term. It’s like Iron Mike says – “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face”. Or is that not so relevant?)
Let’s say you can already do a pull up and a ring dip. A fantastic goal for you would be a ring muscle up because it involves the two former skills and would seem a natural progression in terms of complexity. However if you hadn’t yet achieved a pull up and a dip, a muscle up would probably be setting a goal that is a little too far out of your reach at this point

The pro tip is – Break your goal down into smaller steps and knock them off systematically. You will reach the big one before you know it

Realistic: Let’s say you decide your goal is ‘to do a one arm handstand’. There is every chance that if you train at Anytime Fitness and follow a standard chest+back routine, and attempt a shitty handstand on your way out of the gym twice a week, there is now way you are ever getting a one arm handstand, at least not in this life. However if the crew you train with ARE regularly working on their handstands and you can see your buddies hitting similar goals to this, then your goal might be totally realistic. This would indicate that there is a pre-requisite level of understanding of the actual process involved in achieving your goal, something that is also essential (but i guess S.M.A.R.U.T wouldn’t sound so catchy would it)

Pro tip – don’t confuse the goal setting process with a WISH-list. These are two different things. *Your wish list should be written on frilly pink paper and kept under your pillow while you sleep

Timed: Adding a timeframe to your goal is the final most important piece of the puzzle. Setting a goal to be achieved within 12 months as opposed to 6 weeks would indicate a VASTLY different process in terms of achieving it. The timeframe should be realistic, but it should also capitalise on our innate drive to accomplish things as a deadline approaches (this is known as Parkinson’s Law, and makes for some interesting researching also)

An example would be ‘leg less rope climb to the top of ceiling x 1 by end of this year’. Or, ’60s freestanding handstand by October’.

As a general rule, set your goal within a timeframe of 1-6months

I’ve used this framework for setting goals for myself and I always find it useful. Even just the process of writing down the goal somewhere is a powerful tool that shouldn’t be overlooked. (like the JB Movement Goal board!)


When is the last time YOU set a goal and achieved it? If you would like help setting some fitness goals contact us here


Why MOVEMENT goal?

At the Jungle Brothers we encourage all of our tribespeople to set a movement based goal and write it up on our goal board. We believe that setting a movement goal is a very important step as it ties an individual into the process of physical development, and ensures that there will be a continuing strive for progress, rather than just exercising for exercise sake.

Many people approach training or the gym with the idea to change the way they look ie. lose weight, gain some muscle, ‘tone-up’ etc. We see these physical outcomes as lovely side effects of the movement training process, and not the goal. In a way, you could say that going for the aesthetic as the primary goal would be a form of reverse engineering.

The best way to have a body that looks strong, agile, powerful etc. is to actually BECOME strong, agile, powerful etc.

We don’t seek to inhibit people from setting other goals (relating to weight loss, muscle gain, tighter abs etc.), as these are wonderful goals to have too. We do however, believe that movement is a healthier and more valuable focus of ones training. It’s important to note that setting a movement goal will generally take care of more superficial goals (like weight loss) in one fell swoop as the commitment to a consistent training process is what we tend to really screw up when trying to make changes to the body

Show me a person who is actively chasing after a one arm chin up who DOESN’T have abs

In addition to all this, I’ve been in the fitness industry for a bunch of years now and I can’t tell you how shallow I find the industry on the whole to be. Pick up any fitness magazine and look at the topics printed all over the cover – empty-minded bullshit like ‘the secret to six pack abs’, ‘the ultimate booty shaping workout’


Similarly is our addiction to people strutting pec-flexes and bikini selfies all over Instagram. The standard globo gym breeds a similar mentality by providing enormous mirrored walls where everybody can spend an entire workout scanning their own body and looking deep into their own eyes (it’s fucking weird, no?)
Boiled down, I am all about looking good and feeling confident, but I am bigger on continuous physical and mental development and I find that focusing on the latter takes care of the former.
The confidence and self-pride that comes from achieving a physical ability that you previously thought impossible is quite profound and something I would encourage all people to experience for them self
Throw a comment up and let me know what you think.

If you would like help with your own training and movement goals contact me here

Happy training

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  • May 19, 2016
  • Blog

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