What the health?: Ready.... SET... GOALS

What the health? Ready... SET... GOALS (credit: Elizabeth Haldane/Sports editor) What the health? Ready... SET... GOALS (credit: Elizabeth Haldane/Sports editor)

Vince Lombardi once said, “What you’ve got to have is faith and discipline when you’re not yet a winner.” But the majority of us are already winners.

Enrolled in an outstanding university and on our way to bright and promising futures, many Carnegie Mellon students feel a sense of accomplishment. At the same time, we all have something in common. We always seem to be reaching for more: adding classes to already overloaded schedules, joining every organization that exists, and volunteering in non-existent spare time.

So is Lombardi talking to us? Well... yes. Anyone can strive for more. Anyone can reach higher. And everyone needs that faith and discipline in order to accomplish these goals.

What is it about goals that has teachers, parents, and the “Coach of the Century” preaching? If one examines interviews and quotes by famous leaders and successful characters in history, one will find that each of them credits determination for achieving goals as the key to success.

Goal setting not only helps a person reach a target, but also may increase the person’s confidence and self-esteem. A person may also bring a friend into his or her plans, thereby increasing the dedication and reward simultaneously.

It can be as easy as telling your best friend you would like to run together in the Great Race at the start of the next school year, and some people find that having a set deadline or event to culminate the hard work they put in is very motivating and rewarding. Goals can be very specific (“Drop one minute on my one-mile run time”) or general (“Run at least three times a week”), but one thing is for sure: They work.

Studies show that there is a definite relationship between setting goals and being successful. So don’t just think about it, make a resolution to accomplish the things on your to-do list, and you may just be one step closer to success.

There are so many ways to set goals for yourself. Some people find that writing them down and displaying them in a location that is commonly seen is very inspiring. Others find that a photo can represent what they would like to accomplish, such as the common poster of a muscular man that can be found in a weightlifter’s room. Many people wear a bracelet or necklace to remind them of their plans for the future, and this tangible object is a constant reminder to stay strong and motivated. Any of these techniques can work for a number of people; the key is finding what works for you.

Whatever you choose, there are some common suggestions that seem to help the majority of goal-setters. has plenty of advice for people seeking to pinpoint what they would like to accomplish, such as making goals positive, precise, realistic, and rewarding.

It is also commonly found that by taking small measurements to track progress, one can adjust his or her plans accordingly and work toward goals more efficiently. One example of this is obviously weight loss, which can be measured not only by the number on the scale, but also by looseness of clothing, BMI, blood pressure, or ease of exercise.

Athletes know goal-setting very well. Swimmers, runners, and cyclists are all examples of athletes who measure their progress numerically. Team players can sometimes sense an increase in skill level or comfort during their sports. No matter how it is done, keeping a journal or mental log of your small successes can be a window into how close you are is to achieving that desired goal.
Everybody knows that person who comes back in August after summer with a brand new look or more outgoing personality. Chances are that this person decided to make a change and set goals over break.

We are all growing up, we are all becoming our destinies, and it is all in our own hands. So go for it. If you’ve always drooled over those people at the beach with rock-hard abs, work toward making yourself one of them. If you’ve been dying to play on the lacrosse team ever since you arrived at school, hone your skills over the summer months and impress the team in the fall.

The harder you work, the greater the results, and setting goals for yourself can turn the seemingly impossible into reality.

Learn that new sport, or work on those thighs. Either way, you will feel happy and confident once you hear the reactions from your friends after months of not seeing the new you.

Try it. Your body will thank you later.