NASM CNC Chapter 17: Goal Setting

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    Chapter Goals:

    • Discuss the different types of goals that exist.
    • Know the benefits of goal setting effectively.
    • Be able to use the principle of goal setting to maximize the effectiveness of goals.
    • Find the methods for giving feedback and tracking the progress of your clients.
    • Discuss the goal worksheets and templates you can use with clients.
    • Find obstacles that are common when looking at setting goals.

    Goal Setting Introduction

    Many people attempt to change their pattern of eating at some point in their lives, or maybe even their choices or physical activity level. It is uncommon for people to set their goals to get them there, though. Goal setting is a useful skillset that gets you to where you want to go. But also keep in mind that it is always easier to set a goal than it is to follow through on it. This is why we need to be good at effectively setting goals.

    The act of setting the right kinds of goals will enhance client motivation, build their confidence, and inspire their direct attention in completing the goal.

    Goal Setting Definitions

    Researchers will divide goals into both objective and subjective goals. 

    Objective goals are goals in which you are attaining a certain set standard of proficiency on some task, also typically done in a specific time frame. One example would be reducing your caloric intake by 500 calories for the day.

    Subjective goals are less defined and not easily measured. One example would be simply looking and feeling better.

    Types of Goals

    Goals are put into one of three types. 

    The first type is the outcome goals. This is the goal that is usually focused on an end result and relate to some other person. This is typically in a competitive form. An example of this would be winning a weight loss competition you have with your coworkers.

    Performance goals are goals that relate to someone’s own level of performance or their behavior. An example of this could be reducing your calorie intake from 3,500 calories to like 2,800 calories. 

    Process goals are goals that have a focus of helping people reach their actual performance goal. An example of this would be not buying any processed snacks from the grocery when you go. 

    Goal Setting Effectiveness

    The different aspects of setting goals:

    • Goal specificity: objective goals can be more easily measured.
    • Goal Proximity: gals can be long, or they can be short term. 
    • Goal Difficulty: this is about how challenging it is to reach a goal.
    • Goal Commitment: this is the degree to which someone is invested in the achievement of their goal.
    • Goal Type: the outcome, process, and the performance goals are the types.

    Self-monitoring means that you are recording and evaluating someone’s own behavior that they do each day. This is most often done in the form of a journal or a calendar. 

    Why Goals Work

    There are four distinct areas that influence performance with their goals:

    • Directing the action and attention
    • Mobilizing the effort
    • Enhancement of your persistence
    • Developing new learning strategies

    Goals will influence the client’s behavior and their performance day to day through the direction of their attention of their tasks and focus put on the cues that are relevant in the environment. In addition to focusing on the attention, goals also increase people’s effort and persistence.

    Goals can also influence the performance of individuals through the making of new learning strategies. 

    Goal Setting Principles

    Goals are best when they follow the guidelines of being SMARTS goals. Each letter represents one aspect that a goal should be.

    S = specific

    M = measurable

    A = action oriented

    R = realistic

    T = timely

    S = Self-determined

    These may not encompass all that a goal should be, but they are a good start.

    Specific and Measurable Goals

    Just simply “doing your best” is advice that is good, but it is too general and sets no mark to shoot for. We need to have goals that are specific and more measurable. 

    Action plans

    People are usually not very systematic in the development and implementation of plans for the achievement of their goals. This is why the importance of an action plan is emphasized. People using action plans very often will have much more success than individuals that do not. 

    Realistic (and Challenging) Goals

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    Realistic goals are a key component for effective goal setting. Goals that are too easy will not represent a challenge and thus people will put forth less than max effort. If the goals are too hard, then people will oftentimes lose their motivation, get too frustrated, and even give up when they do not reach those goals. 

    In most cases there will be no specific standard to make a goal realistic, instead the focus is on the individual and the environmental factors. We take these into account when setting realistic goals. It is up to the interpretation and the recommendations of the coach.

    Timely Goals

    Goals need to have a specific timeframe to shoot for so that someone is actually trying and striving for them. Another thing is that a specific time to shoot for can undermine motivation for reaching a goal.

    Long term goals give people direction and set the stage for what the client will one day get to. 

    Short term goals are important for small steps to reaching the long term goals. They help by having smaller targets that motivate people. 

    Self-determined Goals

    Goals should be set by people so that they are committed to them. They should be personal and based on what they want to achieve. Intrinsic motivation is what is provided by these self-determined goals. Intrinsic motivation is the type of motivation that is from your own personal satisfaction.

    Reevaluate Goals

    Goal setting is important, and when you reach your goals it is going to be important to set new ones. To always be progressing means that new long term goals are set based on ever changing desires. 

    Goal Feedback

    In addition to reevaluating the goals of the clients, you also have to give feedback regularly when seeing progress toward the achievement of goals. This is a huge part of being a successful coach. 

    Individualize Goals

    The most important principle for implementing a goal setting program for diet and nutrition is making sure that the coaches customize their goals to be relevant and meaningful to the client. 

    NASM CNC Chapter 17: Goal Setting 1
    NASM CNC Chapter 17: Goal Setting 2
    NASM CNC Chapter 17: Goal Setting 3

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