Body Building Resources

Are You Meeting Your Body Building Goals? Nine Tips for Effective Goal-Setting
By Jean Lam

If you're not meeting your body building goals, it may not be your determination, discipline, or physical abilities at fault. It may be your goal-setting techniques. Your ability to set effective goals can make the difference between success and failure in body building. Here are a few steps to take in setting body building goals that keep you motivated and on track.

Break big goals down into small steps. Maybe you want to win a competition or drop a lot of weight. These are great goals to have-but they're too big and lofty to keep you on track over the long term. Many people set large, audacious goals to begin with. But when you hit a rut in your workout routine, that big goal will start to seem impossible-and you're more likely to get discouraged and quit. Instead, break big goals down into small steps. You can't become a body building champion right away, but you can go to the gym and do ten reps today. Break your big goals down into small steps, and when you get discouraged, don't think about that big dream you're failing to achieve-think about that small, easy step you can tackle without difficulty.

Be realistic. It's important to be realistic with your goals. Do some research, talk to some body builders, and know what's possible and what's not. You may not be able to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger by the end of the year-especially not if you're a hardgainer and are planning to avoid using hormone supplements. But you can develop a well-built physique, increase your health and your energy through exercise. If your goals are too big, you'll easily get discouraged.

Be flexible. Every body is capable of different things-and you may not know what's realistic for you until you've started your body building routine. If you find that your original goals are too hard-or too easy-to be realistic for you, it's fine to change them. As long as you're making progress toward the end result you want, you're doing it right. In addition, it's important to stick with your routine even if you start missing some of your smaller goals. If you're starting to miss your goals, don't quit-just change them so that they're more realistic for you.

Keep track. In body building, you won't see results right away. But even if you don't see your muscles bulging more and more each week, you're still making gains. Keep track of the weight you're lifting each week. Make note of the gains you're making-and the pitfalls you're encountering. You may find that you hit a slump every few weeks or months, and you can be prepared if you can predict it. Keeping careful track of your body building progress will keep you focused and motivated.

Know your motivation. Why do you want to start body building, really? Do you want the fame that comes from being a competition champ? Do you want to look better? Become a babe magnet? Be healthy and vigorous? Body building isn't easy, and to keep on track you'll need to know exactly why you're doing this in the first place.

Remind yourself constantly. Find a picture that represents what you want from body building, cut it out, and put it in your wallet. Put it on your bathroom mirror or over your bed-wherever you'll see it often. It's important to keep reminding yourself of your goals, especially when you just wake up in the morning and whenever you're tempted to skip a workout or break your diet. The more you can remind yourself of what you're really in it for, the less likely you'll be to give in to temptations that can lead you off course.

Develop a routine. If you go to the gym at irregular times, you're not likely to make it a habit. Choose a single time to go to the gym, and stick with it. Many people choose to go in the mornings, because getting your workout done early leaves your day free for everything else going on in your life-and it's also less likely that you'll skip the gym because of unexpected changes in plans if you're going before work. But whatever you do, choose a time that works for you and do it often enough so that it becomes second nature.

Get a buddy. Nothing keeps you motivated like a friend who has the same goals. If you can, find someone else who's at your level in body building. Go to the gym together. Keep each other on track with your diets. Compete with each other and encourage each other. If you have someone who's working toward the same goals and who can act as a motivational partner, the journey will be easier for both of you.

Make it easy. If you go to the gym in the morning, get your gym bag ready the night before. If you can't stand getting up early, make it a routine to go to the gym after work-or on your lunch hour. You need to pinpoint the times when you're most likely to give up on your workout-and make it very easy to choose to go anyway. If that means changing your workout time to suit your preferences or packing your gym bag so you can grab it and get out the door in the mornings-even if you're running late-you're more likely to stick with your fitness goals.

Getting fit isn't easy, but that doesn't mean it's impossible. Set goals that keep you motivated, focused, and on track-and if you get discouraged, don't quit. Just adjust your goals. Effective goal setting is a valuable skill, both in body building and in life.

About the author

Jean Lam is the webmaster of Body Building Resource which provides articles on weight training, nutrition and fitness, body building book and DVDs.

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