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The Secret to Successful Goal Setting (How to Achieve Your Health, Fitness & Life Goals)

There’s a simple quote, “In golf as in life it is the follow through that makes the difference.”  (Anonymous)

The difference between this time and every other time you have set goals, tried to achieve them, and given up is simply that – the follow through.

It takes more than SMART goal setting to get to where you want to go.  It takes more than motivation to keep you moving forward.  There’s ONE BIG THING that separates those who persevere and achieve their goals from those who give up.

That BIG THING is your WHY!!

All too often when we set goals we start with the “WHAT.”  We write down what we hope to accomplish without first carefully considering why that accomplishment is important to us.  We make a plan for how we are going to move forward without taking time to think about our core purpose for doing it in the first place.  Your WHY is the missing piece – without it your WHATS and HOWS are meaningless.  Your WHY should be your focus.  It is the bulls eye of goal setting!

Having a strong WHY is the “secret” to successful goal setting.  It’s what separates those who follow through on their goals in life from those who quit.  

By your “WHY” I don’t mean, “because I want to lose 10 pounds.”  Your WHY is accessed through your core values – who you are and what you stand for.  This might include your faith, the importance of family, or your belief in maintaining a healthy work/life balance.  Your WHY includes not only you, but those closest to you.  A strong WHY takes into consideration how your choices affect others.  Why are your goals important to you and those you love?  What impact will your choices have on your relationships with your friends, your spouse, your kids, and with God?  How will those choices bring honor and glory to Him while enabling you to live out His purpose for your life to the best of your ability?

Before you write down any goal, imagine what it will it look and feel like when you reach that goal.  Then, take a moment to brainstorm the potential consequences for NOT following through.  Sometimes the thought of what might happen 5 or 10 years down the road if we DON’T make a change is even scarier than the thought of getting started.  Instead of focusing on how far you have to go, focus on your WHY, use that as a driving force to fuel positive change, and take that first step!

In his book The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy explains the importance of unlocking your WHY-power:

“You’ve tried willpower before and it’s failed you. You’ve set resolutions and you’ve let them go. You thought you were going to lose all that weight last time…Let’s stop the insanity and do something different so you can get different and BETTER results.

Forget about willpower. It’s time for WHY-power. Your choices are only meaningful when you connect them to your desires and dreams. The wisest and most motivating choices are the ones aligned with that which you identify as your purpose, your core self, and your highest values. You’ve got to want something, and know WHY you want it, or you’ll end up giving up too easily.

So, what is your WHY? Your WHY must be something that is fantastically motivating – to YOU. What motivates you is the ignition to your passion, the source for your enthusiasm, and the fuel of your persistence. The power of your WHY is what gets you through the grueling, mundane, and laborious. All of the HOWS will be meaningless until your WHYS are powerful enough.

When the reason is big enough, you will be willing to perform almost any HOW…You have to dig deeper to find your core motivation, to activate your super-power. Your WHY-power.”

Today, it’s time to activate your super-power, dig deep, and find your core motivation for achieving your goals.  What will reaching your goals mean to you and everyone around you?  Your WHY is bigger than you, bigger than your health, and even bigger than all the people in your life that you want to be around for.  It should also be about God, so include Him in your WHY!   When we implement positive lifestyle habits – whether it’s eating healthy, exercising, or spending time in prayer – we lead by example and encourage others to make positive changes.   When we make our health a priority, we have more energy to be active parents, are more productive, and literally extend our life so we can be around for those we care about for as long as possible!  When we rely on God for the strength to persevere we grow in our faith and build our mental, physical, and spiritual endurance so that we can overcome the obstacles that once stood in our way of reaching our goals.

Your WHY POWER must be strong enough to overcome your urges for instant gratification in order for you to be successful.  It should be deep enough that it tugs on your heartstrings and maybe even brings tears to your eyes when you think about it.  That’s how you KNOW you’ve found it!

Once you’ve nailed down your WHY, write it down, post it where you will see it every day, revisit it multiple times throughout the day, and share it with as many people as possible!   Then, share it with God and commit your plans to Him!  Personally, I can’t think of a better accountability partner…

The Bottom Line: Achieving a complete and lasting transformation IS possible, but will require you to push past your comfort zone, stay focused on your WHY, and rely on Him for the strength to persevere when things get tough!  Your WHY must be motivating enough to keep you going when you feel like quitting and it must be bigger than you!  When you WHY is big enough, you can perform any HOW!

CALL TO ACTION #1: Are you ready to make a commitment to reaching your goals?  It all starts by having a strong WHY, followed by a clear plan to get you there!   Please share your WHY in the comments section and with as many others as possible.  You can follow this template as a guide: “I am committed to (YOUR GOAL) because (YOUR WHY).”

CALL TO ACTION #2:  Looking for support and accountability to reach your goals?  Join my FREE Fueled Fit Focused Facebook Community to receive daily encouragement and resources to live a healthier, more focused life.


1. Hardy, Darren.  (2010).  The Compound Effect: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success.  Boston, MA: Da Capo Press.

2. Sinek, Simon.  (2009). How Great Leaders Inspire Action.   TED.  Retrieved November 9, 2016 from


2 thoughts on “The Secret to Successful Goal Setting (How to Achieve Your Health, Fitness & Life Goals)

  1. I want to gain control over my health again! Lose weight, get fit, and eat well.

    My Why – I want to be an example to my daughters of a woman who loves her body enough to take care of it. I want to have the energy to keep up with them and good health to be around a very long time for them. I want to crush family history of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol. I want to feel attractive again and comfortable in my own skin.

    1. Amy, thank you for sharing! Having a why that digs deep and is about more than just weight loss is so important! Having energy to play with your kids, being in good health so you can spend as much time with your loved ones as possible, and ending the trend of health-related issues in your family are all great reasons that will keep you going when you want to give up. The side effect of that will be weight loss, feeling good, and looking your best. Looking forward to having you in my next group!!

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