Goal setting is the key to success. We are 37% more likely to achieve a goal by simply writing it down.

This may be true, but has goal setting become more of a fad. It’s is recommended and implemented so much that it seems to be watering down the impact. The result being, fewer goals are being achieved.

Let’s look at why that is and how to change it.

The most common time of year to set goals is at the turn of the year. Yet, interestingly, these also have the largest failure rate.

Because goals and resolutions seem to be expected at that time of year, they don’t come with the same drive and enthusiasm as goals set at other times of year.

However, even then, goals seem to change with the weather. One month you want to eat healthier, the next you are giving up alcohol, then you want to look good for your holiday, but on return, you want to earn more money.

How many of these do you follow through on fully? For most people, the number is very low.

But there may be a way to stick to your resolutions – by thinking about things in a different way.

The key to achieving your goals is to focus on the emotional drivers behind the desire to change.

Forget about weight loss as your goal and focus instead on constructing a version of you that you will make you happy. Not because you have done it quickly, but because you have done it effectively and have achieved something you can not only be proud of, but also something that just ‘feels’ right.

Resolve and willpower can get you through most things short term but in the end willpower alone will fail.

As an example, more than half the people who attempt to give up smoking fail in the long run even if willpower carries them through a few days or weeks.

The rebound rate for weight loss is higher than that of smokers. Why? Because you can’t just WANT to achieve something. There has to be an emotional connection.”

DCS was set up in 2009 as a personal training and coaching service to support people whose willpower and self-belief deserted them. The goal was to provide the service that focused on the elements where others failed. To take the elements that just seemed wrong within the fitness industry and put them right. Very quickly it became apparent that, as well as needing motivation and technical know-how, my clients body shape and confidence grew when they could understand and tap into what drove them emotionally to achieve their goals. As a result, they were able to take a more methodical approach to the changes rather than constantly seeking the ‘quick fix’.

This route has since developed the name ‘Emotiviation’.

The importance of emotions for reaching fitness goals

Like it or not, our emotions rule our actions in the long-term. They cause internal hormonal activity and the resulting chemical reactions cannot be overcome with thought or willpower alone.

Thousands of years of evolution have created these reactions and they are there to protect us.

Our bodies like the “status quo”. They don’t like change or the unknown as that can spell trouble. So, in order to overcome these emotional responses, you need to create a stronger emotion that you can connect to.

Getting emotional about goals starts with one easy question – “Why?”

For example, Brian is 24, overweight, single and depressed: “I want to bring my waist size to 34 inches, improve my body composition to a level where I can see my six pack abs, add two inches to my chest and half an inch to each upper arm. I want to feel healthy, energised and confident in my appearance and I will do all of this by the time I go on holiday in June,” Brain claims.


“Because I want to feel good about how I look on the beach”


“Because I want the girls who see me to find me attractive”


“Because I have never had a girlfriend and it depresses me to feel that women don’t find me attractive. So hopefully with an improved physique and level of self-confidence, I can put out a more positive personality and attract someone suitable to have a relationship with.”

Now we are getting somewhere.

So, the next time Brian thinks about skipping the gym, going for a curry or heading out for a night of boozing with the lads, he has an alternative emotion to draw on.

If the idea of feeling confident and ultimately being in a relationship remains stronger than the desire to eat a curry, the menu stays in the drawer and he heads to the gym.

Dynamic Core Studios was opened in January 2012 to ensure that the subsequent trip to the gym removed the obstacles presented in most gyms or leisure facilities.

Again, it’s not about the quick fix. Training is not about just showing up to the gym and making your way around the same machines as everyone else and just hoping it will work for you. It requires you to have a plan in place and the plan should always be to build from the base up.

There are some fundamentals you need to get in place.

From a nutritional (or fuel) point of view you need to have your water intake at a decent level and you must be getting enough rest.

Without these in place, no plan is going to work for you.

After that, you need to ensure your body works the way it should.

A movement assessment would be useful here.

In some cases, this would be best performed by a high-quality physiotherapist, but any trainer worth their salt should be able to carry out an assessment that can ascertain any inability to move properly.

If you have any flaws in this area, these should be rectified first. Otherwise everything you attempt to achieve from that point forward will suffer and the results will be sub optimal.

Assuming you are moving properly, the next element to look at would be strength.

If you are lacking in strength the quality of your training will suffer.

But so will your development in general, right down to your bone structure. If you don’t give your skeletal structure a reason to stay strong, it won’t. It’s that simple.

No matter what your goal is, if it is physique based, it should involve heavy resistance training.

That doesn’t mean gimmicky machines that make you feel like you are working out, but rather solid, compound movements with the heaviest weight you can manage.

Any shaping of your body requires muscle:

  • It helps to burn calories
  • It keeps you functionally balanced
  • It makes you stronger, which allows you to do and achieve more.

If you don’t give your body a reason to keep the muscle you have, it will look to get rid of the muscle rather than fat. After all, you are not giving it a reason to stay and muscle is heavier than fat so it makes life easier if it goes. That’s why going out running or cycling is not ideal and whilst it might help you lose weight, really you want to lose fat.

By working with weights, you are telling your body it cannot afford to lose muscle. Therefore, it goes looking for the required energy elsewhere and burns stored fats.

And ladies that does not mean you are going to bulk up. Lifting heavy does not mean big muscles and a bodybuilder physique.

This applies to goal setting in all areas, not just health and fitness.

What is different in this approach is simply that there is a reason for your goals now and so you can take logical steps to achieving them.

Your desire to make the long-term change is deep rooted and therefore you are much less likely to deviate from the path you then set yourself.

So rather than goal setting on a whim, why not look take some time to get to know yourself?

Discover what it is you truly want to achieve and most importantly ‘Why?’

Really FEEL the difference it would make to create these changes (Looking good is not a feeling, though feeling good will generally result in more positive choices resulting in an improved appearance and body composition).

Then make a structured, logical plan to take you where you want to be.

And if you don’t know how to make a plan, have a look at my review of this Physique Transformation Course. It could just be what you need.

Feel who you want to be then live your life as that person. 

Goal Setting - Is Emotivation the key to success?
Goal Setting
The Power of Emotivation by Mark Tiffney

What do you think?

If you think about it, have the goals you have had more emotional investment in been more successful?

Share your successes in the comments below.

The first step to getting over obstacles is to get your head in the right place. 

As such, I’ve put together a PDF on Emotional & Mental Foundations and how to get them in place, free to download right now.