A Realistic Look at Goal Setting: Introduction

This is the introduction to a series of posts looking at different approaches to goal setting. I am going to touch on everything from fat loss to lifestyle changes.

What do you want?

Goal setting is an important part of your personal transformation. People often have a vision of what they want to achieve but they fail to put a concrete label on it. With a little thought and creative use of words, all goals have the ability to be defined. These goals can be related to your body, mind, career, or relationships. This doesn’t have to speak only to body transformations.

You can learn a lot about someone when you ask them what they want. In daily life, most people don’t come close to forming this kind of relationship with the people they know, even close loved ones. In my work, it is my job to pull that information out of people. I can’t do what I want to do or help people become the best version of themselves without understanding what they want in the first place.

Celebrating Mediocrity

I don’t believe in celebrating average—that isn’t what I do. If you want average results and answers you will not find them here. I don’t celebrate mediocrity. If you think I expect everyone to be a Gap model, you’re wrong. This isn’t about going beyond what genetics can provide. This is about you setting realistic goals for what you want to achieve, and defining those goals in as much detail as possible. What most people normally do is set a subpar version of a goal. People settle, some even give up after years of frustration. They are broken and beat down and decide to accept average as the best they can do. This is how most things go in life; people settle in work, love, and health.

Why do we settle?

I could dive into a pool of clichés right now but instead I will just dip my toe. You don’t have to be a psych major to know that the majority of time people settle in their lives out of fear. Fear can be masked by excuses and procrastination; but regardless of the form it takes, it guides a lot of people’s lives. And even if you can set aside the fear and learn to embrace a mindset change, there is still the problem of “how” to do that. Since I believe not understanding the “how” can lead to even more fear, figuring that out is a big step toward solving the puzzle.

In the upcoming posts you are going to learn:

  • How to assess yourself to determine which goals you need
  • The quickest way to take charge of those goals
  • How to make a life long pattern of continuous goal setting

Song of the post:

images Big Calm is an appropriately titled album. Since I was in the mood for a little chill music, it fit perfectly. If you are thinking of taking stock of your future out on a city night drive, I recommend bringing Morcheeba along.

Morcheeba – The Sea


  1. Sarah
    September 2, 2009 at 8:38 am

    Just getting caught up with my reading– this is such a teaser, Leigh! Looking forward to the series and  your  launch of  Body By Eats.

  2. Anna K
    September 2, 2009 at 9:11 am

    I really do think fear is the the underlying black hole that holds us back and keeps us from moving forward. I have a lot of fears when I start to push myself physically: “I’m undereating”; “I’m going to get too bulky”; “Oh no, I can’t get hungry–my blood sugar levels will bottom out!”; “My hormones will suffer.”

    These fear responses are all very convenient (and convincing) ways my body tries to convince me that I don’t want to lose weight. The curse of the overeducated chronic dieter.

    The true fear is the idea that my body is going to become something new I’ve never experienced before, and that that just might change my world. And change is…..scary.

  3. Amanda
    September 2, 2009 at 10:45 am

    Every so often I think about how fear limits me in what I do–largely fear of other people’s reactions, which I suppose boils down to plain ol’ fear of rejection. :/
    I have been thinking I need to have a serious goal-setting session. I’ve been doing short term goals (three months out) but I should do some long-term goals as well, and probably focus on emotional health and relationships rather than just fitness and fat loss. Looking forward to the series!

  4. Keith
    September 2, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    I like the thought of NOT celebrating average. There is a time when a phrase like that would have pissed me off because I had settled. I am not settled anymore. Maybe that could be another topic you tackle in more detail. Looking forward to more on this!

  5. Carol
    September 2, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    As a mother of 3 kids what am I supposed to do? How can I possibly achieve the “dream” when I have 3 little bodies and a husband depending on me?

  6. Greg
    September 2, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Can I put in a request on Goal setting for LeanGains? Thanks

  7. Peace
    September 2, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    Word fix needed for:

    How to assess yourself for which goals you need

  8. Leigh Peele
    September 2, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    Sarah – Thanks.

    Anne – The only thing that we can ever do to harm ourselves like that is great an excess of stress from the fear and self doubt. This is why smart training and strategic dieting are winners everytime.  Most hormonal f**k ups that are self induced can be avoided when the right planning occurs and a realstic approach is taken.

    Amanda – “… and probably focus on emotional health and relationships rather than just fitness and fat loss ”  You would be amazed at how hand in hand they go.


  9. Leigh Peele
    September 2, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    Keith – It can seem like a harsh thing to say because some people really fight against the thought of themselves being average. So I say if this offends you its because it is something you don’t want to be.

    Carol – Depends on the dream Carol. For some the dream is 3 kids and a husband and little care for the rest of it. If the dream is more than you need to look at how much time you give to them and how much time you give to yourself.

    Greg – It is already being discussed.

    Peace – Fixed. Thanks for the heads up.

  10. meg
    September 3, 2009 at 1:33 am

    This is right on target…and more than fitting to post this here as well as on your FB page…, just wanted to follow up with you: my research project, inspired in great part by you, was accepted for presentation by the International College of Equine Exercise Physiologists meeting in South Africa in 2010! It’s a worldwide conference of elite practitioners…..Again, my deepest gratitude for all you do. Without you, this would never have been possible….. Who knew when I skeptically said, “well, ok…I’ll try”

  11. meg
    September 3, 2009 at 1:37 am

    OH..ps..finally dating in ernest now…and met someone I think is pretty special too 😉

  12. Lori
    September 3, 2009 at 11:10 am

    I can’t wait for the goal article.  I have been struggling with a stuck weight and was thinking about just giving up and accepting where I am.  It has been a long haul and dieting is never fun but your article struck a chord with me… why settle for average?  why not actually achieve what I have always dreamed of achieving?  why cut myself short?  If I am doing the work now I just need to keep at it.  I need to stop settling for less than my ideal.  Thanks Leigh!!  I needed a little motivation.  You are it to so many people… keep up the good work.

  13. Damon
    September 4, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    I’ve recently changed my mindset towards goals.  I have, for the most part, eliminated time frames, such as “I will achieve X by Y.”  Say that my big goal is to lose 20 pounds of body fat.  I start small.  I say that my goal is five pounds.  I don’t put a date on the goal.  But, I force myself to perform the habits consistent with my goal.  Then, I don’t have to feal like a failure it takes a long time.  Then, after I’ve lost five pounds, I set a new goal, perhaps to lose 4 pounds of body fat.
    Again, I make sure my behaviors are consistent with the goal, but I don’t stress over the time frame.
    I can control my behaviors (for the most part).  I can’t control how my body will react to those behaviors.  So, a time goal seems meaningless.  And, if progress stalls, I change my habits to push things along.  The closer I get to an ultimate goal, the more I celebrate each little step of the way.  That way, I’m not tied up in just a single goal that is either going to take a long time or perhaps not happen.  I can be happy with progress during the journey.

  14. […] I am starting with fat loss because for this is what the majority people are battling and why they matriculated to my part of the interwebz. You can find the introduction to goal setting here. […]

  15. […] I have discussed the introduction to goal setting and fat loss. The next logical step in body composition is muscle gain. Before you scan over this […]

  16. […] to you. I have discussed this topic a lot actually. You can see previous posts where I discuss what realistic goals for fat loss or muscle gain are. Today, I want to talk more about the emotional and socialization […]

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