For a 3 pm class on a Saturday, the energy in the Flywheel studio was tangible. The aSweatLife Ambassadors joined the last class of the day to meet up, get sweaty and to clear our heads before getting down to business.
That business? An aSweatLife-special approach to goal setting, led by Will Haley, lead instructor at Flywheel Sports.
For obvious reasons, a goal setting workshop in January made sense. But here at aSweatLife, we firmly believe that there’s a lot of synergy between your “fitness” life and the way you live your life outside of the gym. To marry these two worlds, we did what many only do under the umbrella of workshops through work environments; the 28 of us sat in Flywheel Gold Coast’s living room with Will – dry erase board, pens, paper and brain food – to write down one-, five- and ten-year goals.
Ready to set your own? Here’s how.
Open your notebook.
Will worked with lululemon for years, and, as he says, “became obsessed” with the company’s goal setting initiatives. The way you set up your paper gives you freedom within a clear structure to write out your thoughts in a concise way.
- Draw a line down the middle of the paper and write “Vision” on the left and “Goals” on the right.
- Underneath the goals-half of the page, divide it into three sections – they’ll be for your one-year, five-year and ten-year goals.
- Finally, under each yearly increment, write down “Career,” “Personal” and “Health.” You’ll eventually come up with a goal categorized underneath each of these umbrellas.
Start with a vision.
We closed our eyes and Will asked us to imagine our ideal day ten years from now. “When you think of this vision, this day, it’s like there couldn’t be a better day than this one,” he told us. He then guided us by asking a few questions to spark inspiration and thought.
There is no right or wrong way to create a ten-year vision. It might be a stream of consciousness, words that provoke feeling, song lyrics that describe how you feel or a full walk-through of your day from start to finish. The more specific, the better, Will said. Go through your ideal day, and do it more than once to pick up on more nuances each time.
- Close your eyes, picture your perfect day in 10 years and get creative as you write it down.
- This process will set you up for the right-hand side of your paper, the Goals portion. After envisioning a perfect day ten years from now, ask yourself, “How do I get there?”
Formalize a Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal.
The BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal), As Will described, is a goal so big that you aren’t sure if you can even attain it.
“For the people that think, ‘It has to work,’ or ‘I can only set attainable goals’ – let it go now,” Will said to us all. “Not having it work is part of the process and going back to the drawing board and re-evaluating is part of it, too. Because if you achieve all of them, the lingering thought in the back of your head is ‘What if it had been bigger? Could I have gotten something bigger instead?'”
- Write down your BHAGs underneath you ten-year goal category. You might have one or two (but no more than two) goals for each category – career, personal and health. It might scare you to write them down, but do it anyway.
- Give it an exact date. The idea is to go big and take yourself seriously about it at the same time.
- Write in the present tense, i.e. “In ten years, I am living in Colorado as a ski instructor for Aspen Snowmass.”
Work backwards from your BHAG.
By slowly taking steps back, we had a career, personal and health goal for a specific date in 2017 looking us in the face. And it set us up with actionable goals to work towards versus ambiguous New Year’s Resolutions like “I’m going to eat healthier foods this year.” It brought purpose and sense to these well thought-out sentences.
- Take a step back now and ask, “What’s a mid-level step to get to that goal?”
- Still think as specific as possible to create your five-year goals with another end-date on them in 2022.
- Finally, ask “What needs to happen in the next 365 days to make that five-year goal happen?”
The best (and worst) part?
These goals are meant to be displayed where others can see them – and can hold you accountable.
Here’s the cool part – the part that’s hard for a lot of us to wrap our heads around. If your goals change, that’s fine. You decide to shift your focus? Cool. Your vision changes drastically? No problem. Update your goal plan accordingly and re-post. Just because you write it down doesn’t mean you’ve signed your life away. You’ve just given yourself some daily direction to cut through the clutter and go after what you want.
- Put your vision and goals up somewhere and be proud to look at them daily.
- If you goals or you vision changes, update, and get back to them.
“The question isn’t anymore, ‘Can I do that?’, Will said. “You’re creating a space where you can do it. It doesn’t have to be scary. I do what I do now because someone checked in with me about my goals when I first wrote them down.”
At Flywheel, you’re coached to never coast. When you think you can’t turn that gear up one notch higher, you find it somewhere deep within you to do it. You walk out of that sweaty room, a few muscles sorer, your heart beating a little faster and smiling – because you just became better. When that happens, it can send chills down your spine. Harness that power – whatever pushed you to a new personal best on the TorqBoard – to go after what you want in your career.
In life and in fitness, you get out of your experience what you put in … and the benefits are endless.