7 Steps for Nailing BIG Goals

Failing is part of the process. It’s part of learning. It’s also a BIG part of success.

But ask any human what is their biggest fear for not starting something and it is likely going to be failure. We’re set up to believe that if we fail then we’re ‘less than’ or ‘not good enough’. But that’s simply not true.

I mean, nobody wants to fail.  Failing sucks.  

The reality is that failure, whether it’s one or many, is just one step closer to NAILING that big goal. Whether it’s fitness, your job, or a big project you can apply our 1% better philosophy and aim for progress, not perfection.

Starting with that knowledge, the next thing to understand is you don’t have to

You don’t have to

the fact is that the overwhelming majority of most people who set goals will inevitably fail.  Why? Well, because goal setting is hard and even if you make it past that step planning is even harder.  The fact is that we tend to pat ourselves on our back for just setting a goal as that alone takes a lot of energy.  Then the goals we tend to set are unrealistic, to vague, and we underestimate what it will take to actually reach them.

Sounds pretty shitty, right?

It doesn’t have to be.  To avoid some of the common pitfalls, here are the 7 steps we use at First Guess Fitness to help our superheroes effectively reach their goals.



1. Be CLEAR about what you want.

Like crystal.  I can’t stress enough how important is to know exactly what you want not what you think you want.  Not what magazines tell you, not what you think your family wants for you, and even not what your trainer wants.  It’s what YOU want.

When I have client come in and tell me they want to run a race, anything from a 5k to a marathon, I always ask, “Do you like running?”.  Typically the answer is no and we discover they want to be the type of person who is fit enough to run a race.  If you aren’t clear about that you will find it hard to develop a good plan.  VERY hard.

2. Failing to plan is planning to fail.

One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is coming up with a big hairy audacious goal then not mapping out how to get there.  We tend to pat ourselves on the back for being brave in our own heads but unless you create a plan and take action, nothing will happen.  After all, a goal without a plan is just a wish!


Plan a bunch of small goals along the way as checkpoints.  This is a great way to not get discouraged and enjoy small successes as you continue to strive for your BIG goal.  Also, plan to fail a little bit.  It is all part of learning and understanding that there will be bumps in the road will help you stay on track.

3. Be consistent, aim lower, and take more shots.

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzke

To be successful, you must accept, or at least be willing, to make mistakes, and then keep trying.  I’ve found that babies are masters at this step as they stumble and fall hundreds of times as they learn to become mini-superheroes.  They entertain small goals focused on the process of building the skills and habits.

One of our biggest philosophies at First Guess Fitness is getting just 1% better every day or setting small personal records (PRs) every time you train.  This is the secret sauce that will help you achieve success and reach your goals.

4. Enjoy the process.

I going to go full ‘YOLO’ here and say live life fully while you are still breathing.  Now is the time to experience everything, have fun, be weird, and do the damn thing!  As I said before, screwing up is part of the process so you might as well enjoy it!  Learn from your mistakes and make progress, not perfection.

5. Plan to fail.

We’re all human.  We overestimate, get distracted, and lose focus.  When I have a client who is new to working out, the first thing I do is help them create the habit of being consistent.  Once that habit is in place, you will find it much easier to stay on track should you miss a few workouts or get derailed with your nutrition.

An analogy I like to use is that of getting a flat tire while you’re driving along.  Chances are you’re not going to leave the car on the side of the road and say f*$# it.  It may be a minor inconvenience, but you’re going to fix the flat and continue on your way.  Am I right?

If your only option is perfection, then your only outcome will be failure.

6. Put yourself out there.

A few years ago I decided to compete in my first powerlifting meet.  I’d only been training for about a year and at 185 pounds I didnt exactly fit the mold of what you’d expect from a powerlifter.  I took 3rd place (of the 3 lifters in my weight class) and I’m pretty sure there was a high school athlete who lifted more than me.  I deadlifted 405lbs and there was a guy the same age as me in a lower weight class who pulled over 630.

I’m not saying you have to compete in powerlifting, or any sport for that matter, but it is important to put it out there challenge yourself out in the wild if you want to get better!  After my first meet, I realized I could do more and when I decided to compete again 6 months later I tacked on an extra 100 pounds to my deadlift and took first.  There were plenty of others who lifted more than me…and that’s okay.  I got better!

7. Start today

There is always something you can do to move towards your goal no matter how small.  So why wait?

One question I ask every one of my clients after a goal-setting session is simple: “What is the first thing you can do today to get one step closer to that goal?”  I’m sure you can imagine what can happen if they put 100% focus and energy into that one thing.  Set the goal aside and seriously focus on that first step.  You’re on your way!

To wrap it up, are you missing any of these steps in your plan?  Did you find any of these steps to be eye-opening or helpful?  Let us know how we can help below!  #CrushIt