A few months ago, I put together a worksheet to help translate my fitness vision into short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals. Great idea, that worksheet. I basically forgot about it for a few weeks and my vision was just as blurry (well, the fitness vision), and my goals were more like a wishful thinking list.

So I pulled the worksheet out, got some feedback, and made a few tweaks. Then I tried it. There was no parade, and no heavenly choir sang. It was just a worksheet and I – well, I guess I just worked on it. It was not difficult, it was just work. And then my session was over and I stuffed the sheets into my backpack to take to work, in case I had a quiet lunch break one day. A few ideas were bouncing around in my head, but I was a bit disappointed that there had been no magical enlightenment.

What I did not realize then was that I had only started the process. The worksheet is just a paper; it is not the process. I realize now that, by sitting down with the paper and a pen and spending some focused time thinking and reflecting, my vision and goal thinking had been activated. Over the next few weeks, I became aware of specific goals that suddenly popped into my mind. I put these on sticky notes so I wouldn’t lose them. When I sat down the second time, I had lots of goals and was able to organize them more coherently over time.

To me, the most interesting thing about the process so far is that the goals have led almost directly to specific workouts which are way more focused than anything I would have tried before. I’m not saying that YOU have to do my specific workouts, but what I discovered in my situation was that my goals led directly to the activities I am now planning to do.  That is the takeaway, and why this basic process should be more or less universal.

So, what do we know? Well, thinking about your personal fitness/wellness vision and setting goals begins a process that allows those ideas to percolate. Over time – a month or so, in my case – you discard a few less important goals and identify other, more important goals.  And these goals lead directly to some very specific activities or workouts which will propel you toward your goal.

What happens when you set goals, then, is that you are able to make thoughtful choices about specific activities. You are in a position to EXECUTE. That is half the battle. When you know what to do, all you have to do is do it. It is now in the hands of your self-discipline.

I hope you are willing to start a vision-casting and goal-setting exercise. The process will help you define where you want to go and how to get there. All you have to do is do it.