Don’t start your exercise program until you do this

Collegiate and professional athletes make goal-setting a necessary part of the season, and we should too. I think goal-setting should be our number one first priority when we’re creating a health and wellness plan.

That said, I also think goal-setting is one of the most difficult processes! Here are some example of questions that you might have:

What goal should I set? Is it ok to set big goals, or should I set small ones? Can I consider following through with good daily habits meeting a goal, or is that just something I should do anyway? I just want to feel good, is that a goal? Last year I set a goal to start losing 150 pounds, well that didn’t work, so goals don’t work for me.

This is a multi-part series about goal-setting strategies that will lead you to success.

  1. There are three different categories of goals: Outcome Goals. Performance Goals. Process Goals. Focusing on the first one usually leads to anxiety and often failure. Focusing on the other two leads to success.
  2. SMAART Goals are imperative (Specific, Measurable, Aggressive yet Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound). Starting here, outlines your purpose, and is how you measure success.
  3. To keep motivation high always connect your Process with your Outcome. The reasons for the process goals must be very vivid in your mindset.

Different Categories of Goals:

Outcome goals are things like winning a race, or losing the most weight in your office “Biggest Loser” challenge. They usually have something to do with comparing yourself against someone else’s outcome, which makes them somewhat out of your control.

Performance goals are like mini-goals that take you in the direction of your outcome goal. They are something you have to work for, and are focused on your improvements. Performance goals are completely within your control.

Process goals focus on the strategies you’ll take to accomplish your performance goal. They are also completely within your control.


When you set goals, they have to pass the SMAART test. Whether you are setting Outcome, Performance or Process goals, they need to have a positive response to every question. You will ask: Is it Specific? Yes. Is it Measurable? Yes. Etc. If it’s No, or Maybe, you might be setting yourself up to lose.

Always connect your process with your outcome:

Understanding the reason for the things you’re doing to get you toward your performance or outcome goal really helps motivation. When my athletes see the connection between range of motion training and easily getting over an 8 foot wall, they are way more likely to do their daily foam rolling exercises. If you see the connection between lunges in the gym and easily hiking with your partner on your Hawaii vacation, you’re way more likely to do them!

Next time, I’m going to get into more detail about the different categories of goals. I’ll give you example that I hope will help you set and reach your goals!


Andrea Bowden