7 Simple Steps To Success & The SMART Way To Your Goals!

Let's take a look at seven simple steps you can take right now to move you rapidly along toward your fitness goals.
If you've been working out for awhile you may have noticed an interesting phenomenon. The vast majority of the members at your gym look the same year-in and year-out and never improve their physiques. Talk about banging your head against the wall.

These people are on autopilot. They are just going through the motions of a fitness lifestyle. Working out has just become another thing they do. Don't let this happen to you.

Let's take a look at seven simple steps you can take right now to move you rapidly along toward your fitness goals.

I realize this may be boring to a lot of you. I can hear the groans and feel the rolling eyes, but please hang in there. The following will do more for your training progress than any super secret Eastern European periodization split ever could.

Think on paper: Only about 3 percent of adults have clear, written goals. These people accomplish five and ten times as much as people without written goals.

Step 1:
[ Decide Exactly What You Want. ]

This will allow you to prioritize so you spend the most time on high value tasks that move you closer to your goals.

If your goal is to add 20 pounds of muscle, there isn't much point in using up a lot of you training time by jogging 5 miles per day, doing high volume low intensity work or focusing on the so-called "shaping" exercises.

Step 2:
[ Write It Down. ]

Again, think on paper. Written goals are a powerful thing. They have an energy behind them that helps you move toward them that unwritten goals just don't have.

In fact, you'd do even better by writing down your goals every day. Yes, every day. It will only take a few moments and will help you tremendously.

Step 3:
[ Set A Deadline On Your Goal. ]

Create a sense of urgency and positive pressure. Without a deadline you will procrastinate and do the little things that may damage your short term goals.

If you are having "after" pictures taken in three weeks then you are much less likely to swallow that bag of popcorn, than if you are just getting in shape ... eventually.

As of 6/20/02

Age: 25
Height: 5'9"
Weight: 245
Chest: 52"
Legs: 24"
Arms: 16"
Waist: 38"

As of 10/26/02

Age: 26
Height: 5'9"
Weight: 175
Chest: 49
Legs: 26
Arms: 17
Waist: 30

Find out how Jay Scott lost over 60 pounds while getting ready for a contest! You could be our next Transformation Of The Month!

This is why physique competitors get in such fantastic shape. When they enter a contest, they have a hard deadline looming in the future. They don't want to be embarrassed by showing up on stage out of shape.

Step 4:
[ Make a list of everything you can think of that you will need to do to help you achieve your goal. ]

Leave nothing to chance. The more planning you do ahead of time, the more likely you will stick to the plan and achieve your goals. The more prepared you are, the more success you will experience.

Step 5:
[ Organize the list into a plan. ]

Organize your list by priority and sequence.

Step 6:
[ Take action on your plan immediately. ]

Do something. Get started. Start building positive reinforcement and momentum RIGHT NOW.

Step 7:
[ Resolve to do something every single day that moves you toward your major goal. ]

And with fitness, you have to, don't you? Whether it is your workout, eating six high protein meals, etc. you should always be doing something that moves your forward toward your goals.

Goal Setting & Motivation

If you continue to focus on and perform these 7 steps, you'll be amazed at the results you'll see with your fitness program.

Now, let's take this a little further and really get smart about this goal setting and motivation thing. I'm not sure who was creative enough to make the acronym work, but work it does and it can fit in quite nicely with your physique goals.

S.M.A.RT. Method:

If you want to succeed you need to get SMART about your goals.

The S stands for specific. Be specific about the goals you want to achieve. Forget things like, "I want to get in shape," "I want to get big," or "I want to lose weight," or "I want to increase my bench press."

Instead try things like "I want to run a 6 minute mile," "I want to add 10 pounds of muscle," "I want to lose 20 pounds of fat, or "I want to add 40 pounds to my best bench press."

The M stands for measurable. This ties in well with specific. You can't measure 'getting in shape," but you sure can measure 'running a 6-minute mile' or 'bench 3 plates'.

With a pair of trusty skin fold calipers, you can also measure pretty accurately adding 10 pounds of muscle or losing 20 pounds of fat. And of course, you can easily measure the poundage increase on your best bench press.

The specific and measurable aspect can be broken down even more to bring you closer to achieving your goals. For example, if you want to add 10 pounds of muscle, what other specific and measurable things must you do to reach your goal?

  • One could be that you must eat 6 high protein meals per day.

  • A second could be that you must eat 3,500 calories and 300 grams of protein every day.

  • You must train with weights three days per week.

  • You must add weight to your exercises at least every other workout.

All of these are specific and measurable. The more specifics that you have, the more likely you will add your 10 pounds of muscle as quickly as possible.

You can make a list of your daily, weekly and monthly goals that you must do in order to meet your top goal of adding 10 pounds of muscle.

Each day, place a check mark next to each measurable and specific goal you achieved that will help you conquer your top goal. Obviously, the more checks you have, the more likely that you will achieve your goal.

In addition to specific and measurable, your goals must be A, or attainable. The R stands for realisitic. As I've said before, it's important to set challenging goals.

Challenging, but attainable, that is. A goal of a 50-pound increase on your bench press max in 12 weeks would be a challenging goal, but also one that is possible.

However, setting a goal of bench pressing 300 pounds in 4 weeks when you currently bench press 75 pounds will do nothing but set you up for failure and frustration.

Obviously, weight loss is on the minds of many people, which is why so many fall victim to promises like "lose 30 pounds in 30 days without getting hungry and without exercising."

As a reader of this magazine, you most likely know that the above is neither timely nor realistic. But many people do fall for such things because they want results NOW! They are setting themselves up for failure before they even start. Please don't join them.

The T stands for Timely. If you do everything previously mentioned, it's still not enough. You must give yourself a deadline to achieve your goal. More importantly, if your goal is attainable and realistic, but also long term, break it up into smaller goals.

If you wish to lose 75 pounds, start with losing just 10 pounds in 2 months. Reaching that goal will motivate you further and before you know it, enough time has passed that you've lost the 75 pounds.

But if you focus solely on losing the 75 pounds, which could take a year or more to accomplish, your motivation and discipline could wane, and you could fail to follow through on what you need to do to make your goal a reality.


Making goals timely hold you accountable and creates a positive sense of urgency. You may think twice about eating that piece of cake when you know you are having a body composition test and pictures to be taken in 2 weeks.

In addition to getting smart, celebrate your successes. And I don't mean that you should allow yourself to dust off a gallon of ice cream in one sitting because you lost 10 pounds. That would be self defeating.

But you could treat yourself to a movie, or a pair of jeans you've had your eye on, or an extra hour of sleeping in on the weekend. Don't sabotage your wonderful efforts by giving yourself destructive rewards for accomplishing your goals.