Most people can now set good SMART goals, but these tend to be outcome goals, such as:

  • I want to lose 10lbs in 5 weeks
  • I want to gain and inch to my biceps in 6 weeks
  • I want to drop 5% bodyfat in 2 months

And so on…

The problem with this is they are all outcome goals, they are all an end state, and no matter how much you want them, they won’t just happen on their own!

Outcomes are affected by environmental things, like:

  • Your job gets crazy busy.
  • Your kid gets sick.
  • Your family has a crisis.
  • You have exams at school.


And they’re influenced by physical things like:

  • Your hormones get out of whack.
  • You have a chronic illness. (Or even just a tough bout with the flu.)
  • You’re stressed.
  • You’re traveling a lot.
  • You’re getting older.
  • You’re having problems sleeping.
  • You sprained your ankle or your arthritic knee is doing its thing again.

You get the idea.


So you need to look at more action goals. Use your outcome goal and break it down into actions you can actually do and monitor.

For example:

Outcome Behavior
Lose 10 pounds. Eat the right portion sizes at each meal (or calories/macros if tracking that)
Eat more protein Have a palm size portion of protein every meal
Squat more weight. Squat 3 times a week at various intensities.
Sleep 8 hours per night. Create a calming pre-sleep routine and start it 30 minutes before bedtime.


Now you have something you can track daily that you’ve done, you can see you’ve done it and your accountable to it.


The second thing with goals is to avoid ‘avoid’ goals! (I get the irony there!)

Because telling yourself to stop doing something almost guarantees you’ll keep doing it.

As I’m sure you know, nobody likes being told what to do. This is called resistance, and it’s completely normal. The moment someone (even yourself) argues strongly for change, your natural reaction is to argue equally strongly against change.

What’s more, if the goal is to stop doing something, even the smallest slip can feel like a failure. One miss means you’re “off the wagon” and all hell breaks loose.

“Avoid” goals are a lot of psychological work. They take up a lot of mental and emotional real estate and energy. All you can think about is what you’re not doing… or shouldn’t do… but really want to do… but you’re not allowed to do it…

So, you need to look at replacing not avoiding. For example:

Avoid Replace Benefit
Stop snacking on “junk food”. Snack on cut-up protein and veggies prepared in advance. protein and veggies are good for me, and this helps me get more of them.
Stop over-eating when stressed or overwhelmed. Stay “checked in” and practice eating slowly and breathing between bites. I feel so much calmer, I enjoy mealtimes more with my family, and my digestion is better.
Stop drinking fizzy pop. Drink a glass of water with at least 3 meals each day. I don’t get headaches or constipated any more.
Stop eating when I’m stressed out. Come up with a list of stress-relieving activities that I enjoy. Then pick one from the list and do it. I feel so much better after my “stress-relief break”!
Stop feeling so fatigued and sleep deprived all the time. Develop a relaxing sleep ritual and 9 pm bedtime. I am clear-headed, energized, and happy. I need less caffeine now.


Not only do you give yourself another option, so you are not depriving but replacing, this way also allows you to show yourself the benefit, as seen above. Now you will feel more comfortable with the goal, more likely to stick to it, and can see how it’s doing you good (as well as getting you to the main goals you had right at the start).