December 21st, 2016

A New Fitness Challenge For The New Year: Goal Setting In The Technology Age

When you pause and reflect on the past year as you look ahead to a new one, it really makes you think. It makes you appreciate how short life is, how valuable time is and how quickly the time can pass you by – with nothing to show for it, if you don’t plan otherwise. That’s why the passing of another year can sometimes feel like a wake up call as much as a fresh start.  On the eve of another new year, looking at the technological wonders that surround us, I also can’t help thinking it feels like science fiction…

Technology Today is Amazing

I’m still in awe of the Internet. The satellite navigation system in my car amazes me every time I drive. I can store a library of books in a device that fits in my pocket. It blows my mind that we can speak to each other face to face through a mobile phone live on video. That’s straight from Star Trek! And those are just the everyday little things we take for granted.

National Geographic Channel recently aired a series on the exploration and habitation of Mars – but it’s not fiction – it’s really happening! Elon Musk’s company, Space X has announced that we really are going to the red planet!

It’s the greatest time to be alive in all of human history!

Unfortunately, some of today’s modern conveniences come with a dark side…

Rising obesity has paralleled the march of technology. The chair-bound, desk-job, computer, car, elevator, television based society of today is helping to make millions of people fat and lazy. Our current way of life is less than a century old, yet our biology hasn’t changed a bit. Our bodies were designed to move and work, not sit and click.

We’ve become spoiled. Complacent. Dependent. And we are paying a price for it. We are fatter than ever before in all of human history. More than two thirds of Americans are now overweight. One third are obese. People are dying because they‘re too fat.

New Technology Cannot Solve Our Body Fat Problem

Ironically, some of the newest technology that’s supposed to make us fitter can even backfire. Look at gadgets like the Fitbit. I love the FitBit.  But, many people are using these kinds of devices all wrong.

Activity trackers are fantastic when you use the step tracking function as a tool keep yourself moving and aware of your activity (NEAT) and use the social features to add even more motivation and accountability. But you’ll be worse off than before if you use them to make decisions on how much you can eat (“Wow, look at how many steps I took… now I can eat more!)

Even if you use them right, electronics are never going to do the work for you.

There’s no easy way.  No gadget. No machine. No pill. More research and knowledge isn’t going to help. We already have most of the solutions. We know more about the human body than ever before. But it’s all academic. The problem lies in the doing. You have to do the work – in the gym and in the kitchen. Hard work, that most people are unwilling to do.

We are a quick fix society. It’s partly human nature, but technology is making us more impatient. We can have products delivered to us with one click and even do it from our cell phones. Pretty soon Amazon is going to be dropping your packages down from drones!

We have instant downloads, movies on demand, and drive through coffee shops. We get our food made and delivered in just minutes while we are sitting in our cars, and it’s still not quick enough. And if our cars aren’t convenient enough, pretty soon they’ll be driving themselves! The internet is blazingly fast, but most people will abandon a web page in seconds if it hasn’t loaded.

It’s no different with fat loss. We want six pack abs yesterday.

Simultaneously fighting the pull of human nature and the convenience of new technology is no easy task. But that’s our challenge today.

Solution: Future Orientation

The most successful people in the world today are those who have a long-term perspective. They plan for the year ahead, but also for 5-10 years in advance and beyond.

This idea is not in opposition to mindfulness.  Successful people know how to enjoy and live in the present moment, but they create plans, take action and make decisions based on their future vision. That’s what it took to deliver all the technologies we already have, that’s what it’s going to take to send people to Mars, and that’s what it’s going to take for you to get strong, healthy and fit… and stay that way.

Approaching the end of yet another year makes you take stock of yourself and your achievements, or lack thereof. “What did I accomplish in the last year? In the last 5 years? In the last 10 years? How much personal development has taken place since then? Am I a better person today than I was then?” If you don’t like the answers, then it’s time to finally get serious about your future because the next 10 years are going to fly by even faster than the last 10 as the pace of life and society continues to accelerate.

Your Challenge For the New Age of Technology:

I challenge you to think beyond new year’s resolutions. Think beyond the 12 week fitness goal. As you write your goals this year, don’t stop with 3 month or even 1 year goals.

Project yourself into the future, 5 and even 10 years. For each point, dream, fantasize, visualize: if your body, your health your physical performance were perfect in every way, what would that look like? Describe it in vivid detail.

You may not be used to thinking this far ahead. Do it anyway. The more time you spend on it, the more excited you’ll become as you think about the possibilities.

You may have done this before. I’ve asked readers to do it in previous blogs. Do it again. You’re older now and things change. Values change. Lifestyles change and of course, technology has changed, bringing new challenges.

With our ingrained penchant for quick fixes, we often over-estimate what we can achieve in the short term and set unrealistic deadlines on our short term goals. But the flipside is that we often underestimate what we can achieve in the long term, so we set our long term goals too low. Do you realize that people have gone from broke to billionaire in 10 years? In this technology age, some have done it even faster.

My challenge for you this year is to start thinking about your body and your life with the same type of creativity that has lead to our greatest technological advances: Not the same thoughts as yesterday. Not just positive thoughts. Not just bigger thoughts. NEW THOUGHTS! From new thoughts will spring new goals, new actions and new achievements.

Fitness goals should not take over your life, they should enhance every other part of it. Everything is better with fitness and optimal health. So take this opportunity to achieve balance. Set long term goals for every area of your life – health, fitness, finances, career, relationships, experiences, travel, possessions and spiritual growth.

Most people don’t set goals and commit them to writing.  They’re among the masses – the 97% – who are in the same place today as they were years ago.

Some people only set short term goals, so they accomplished a few little things, but then stopped, as if a goal were a final destination rather than a stepping stone along a never-ending path.

Other people set goals but didn’t follow through on them. They forgot that goal setting and goal achieving are two different things. Don’t fall into these traps.

The Start of a New Year: The Perfect Time to Map Out a New Plan 

Although I’m urging you not to think in terms of  typical “resolutions,” the new year really is a great time to set goals because it feels like you have a clean slate.

In previous blog posts, I’ve written about the power of accountability to yourself and others. You’ve heard about it, now use it. When you complete your goal setting exercise, share your goals with someone else. If you like, post them in the comments here on the Burn The Fat Blog.

If you need help with in the goal setting process – from the daily and weekly baby steps to the long term goals and dreams that span 1 year, 5 years and even a decade – crack open Burn The Fat, Feed the Muscle, if you already have it. Now is the time to revisit it. If you want personal attention, join our Burn The Fat Inner Circle community.

Remember, goal setting is just the start. Goal achieving requires taking action on a fitness and nutrition plan, and Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle is the most comprehensive fat loss plan of its kind covering every element of success: nutrition, cardio training, weight training and “mental training” (goal setting and success-thinking).

Average people make resolutions. Smart people set well-formed goals. But long term goals are the goals that almost everyone forgets to set.

If you don’t have long term goals on paper, then do it now.  If you do, I guarantee that next year, and in 5 years, and in 10 years,  you’ll not only find yourself living at a whole new level, you’ll find yourself living in another world. It may not be Mars, yet, but it will be even better – it will be the world of your own creation.

Train hard and expect success,

Tom Venuto,
Author of The Body Fat Solution
Author of Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle
Founder & CEO, Burn the Fat Inner Circle


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26 Responses to “A New Fitness Challenge For The New Year: Goal Setting In The Technology Age”

  • Lee

    TomI think this article is fantastic, especially as many people just set goals for a the start of the new year and don’t set long term goals with a fitness plan.

  • Todd

    Thank you Tom! That was sooo well written it would motivate Anthony Robbins!Happy New Year!Todd

  • mayuri

    TOM – WISH YOU A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR. Thank you so much for this motivating message. This year, I will try to set goals for the year and for the entire decade.regardsMayuri

  • Ana

    Hi Tom,Thanks a lot, a very inspiring post!!! have a great year!!!

  • Tom, First off all the best for the new year, and second thank you for opening myeyes and making me realize time is flying by far too fast.We all tend to put off for tomorrow the important things. 18 months ago I weighed 186kg and over a period of 13 months lost 67kg. towards the end of last year I lost sight of my goal and put on 11 kgs again.I have set new goals with more determination than ever before thanks to you.Will let you know how things are going in 3 months.Trevor



  • Christopher

    Thank You Tom! You inspired me to do what I have been meaning to do for the past 3 months, put my goals in writing on my notebook computer so I can see them each and every day! I used your list as a template “Set long term goals for every area of your life – health, fitness, finances, career, relationships, experiences, travel, possessions/toys and spiritual growth.” I had written some goals down back in October at a workshop but they lay in the folder from the workshop. I had been intending to re-write them in a usable format. Without this, life was sneaking in on me and I was slipping back to old patterns. With the turn of the new year approaching, I did begin working out in mid December, but my eating went off track over the holidays. These goals will help be get back on track and stay on track. No use wallowing in past indescrections, keeping a forward focus. Thanks for the reminder and thank you as well for your publications that show the way for this 50 something to feel like I did in my 30’s. lts amazing, my kids are 18 & 20, I can out perform them and all of their friends in any physical activity. It is sad really that the next generation has not picked up the fitness torch. That is our next challenge!Peace in the new decade,Christopher

  • Tiffany

    Thanks for this blog, Tom! I found your book right around this time last year, and the chapter on positive attitude and goal setting really helped me to change my mental approach to losing weight. I truly believe this change in my attitude is what ultimately enabled me to lose 44 lbs and go from 33% body fat to 17% body fat last year!I am on the cusp of reaching my original goal and have found myself struggling with where to go from here, both on a fitness level and in my career…because it has occurred to me along the way that I can apply the same principles I used in losing weight to ANY area of my life. It is great advice to think long-term…where do I want my life to be in 10 years? And let those goals direct the path that your shorter-term goals will lay to make your long-term goals a reality.I was having a negative-mindset morning, but reading your blog has inspired me to sit down and think about where my inspiration will lie the rest of this year and beyond! Thanks again for a great blog!

  • James Hudson

    Goals for this year. Focus first and foremost more often on God and Family, there is plenty of time for the office which in this economy wants more and more from the individual2. Pursue with passion an active fit lifestyle through diet, exercise, and education (can you say new books?)3. Bring my family into the mix. They too deserve to be fit and healthy, why not together?4.Be more open minded. Push away steadfast thinking of the past and open “the box” Be outside the normDecade Goals1.Be one with myself. Seek first satisfaction within, then it is easy to pass to others2. Beocome closer with God. Develop a deeper passion, so that too can be openly shared3. Continue to push and strive for all my fitness and exercise goals. Seek the low digits in body fat %4. More education. continue to learn, for learning =growth, and growth = success both in life and love.5. Support the BFFM program more openly, my successes can easily be shared with others.

  • Mary Lou

    Tom,thanks for writing the book, the blog, the website. I am 50 years young and started on my fitness journey 18 months ago. There have been many obstacles (multiple surgeries, injuries, etc.) but whatI have found is that by following the fitness lifestyle and eating clean I still ama ble to progress toward my goal. I am 30lbs down, 4 dress sizes and can recover quicker than I did in similar circumstances 20 years ago. Keep the support and inspiration coming. Happy and Healthy New Year!

  • Val Butler

    I’m a goal girl, no doubt. I have always set lots of goals for myself believing that having something written on paper would help myself continue to grow physically, spiritually and mentally. One day as I looked at my goals (some achieved, some not) I started thinking about how the Bible said we were created in God’s image. He created us as a beautiful, yet complex human being. He asked for us to be good stewards of what he gave to us. It doesn’t matter if you are young or old; each age has it’s own beauty and grace. I still find myself setting goals, because I’m a goal girl, you know, but I’ve made this one thought my mission statement: “It’s not about the destination – it’s all about the journey getting there”. Make each day count and the destination (or goal) will take care of itself. That is truth. For whatever you desire to apply it to in life, it is truth.Thanks for traveling this journey with me.Val ButlerCarthage MO

  • J. E. Louthan

    Dear Tom,After having my second child I found myself about 35 lbs heavier than I would like to be. I am 6′ tall and I weigh about 180 with an athletic build. I wouldn’t consider myself fat, but I am not by any stretch of the imagination considered skinny.I have never been an inactive couch potato. I do work out every week. Sometimes it’s only 2 days. Unfortunately, being a business owner with 2 kids limits my time for workouts so I don’t get to work out 5-6 times a week like I want (even when I plan for it). My favorite workouts are step-aerobics. I have been doing that for the past 10 years with the exception of when I was pregnant. However, I can’t seem to build more muscle or lose any weight I just maintain what I have. I purchased your “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle” to gain insight about what I may be doing wrong.My goals:- Gain a lean body so that when I walk down the street each muscle being used is visibly seen by others as I walk by.- Lose fat and inches- Work out 5-6 times a week- Eat more leafy green vegetables & lean protein- Eat less sugar and processed “junk” food- Fit in a cute polka dot bikini by summer!- Feel sexy again

  • Maggie

    My main goal is stop doing what I’ve always done and expect different results. Enough excuses and lets get it done. Need to lose those final last 10 pounds in healthy way by eating healthy and working out regularly. Also need to focus on personal development even though in my late 40s.

  • Darin

    Hey Tom…there are several goals I would like to accomplish this Year….the most obvious one is to slim down and add muscle to develop a more manly “V” shape, but also to be able to help my significant other who is suffering health wife has several problems that are possibly weight related..I have lost some weight so far by using the principals in your system and maybe the tide may be turning a bit as she wants to join on as well… by watching my wife struggle to get out of bed in the morning I realize it is really having your health…you have the world in your hands……

  • Angie D.

    My goal for this year is already in play. I will become a “runner” this year. I will run in a 5K race at the latest in June for the annual Petunia fest. I will run a 1/2 marathon by the end of this year. Leading up to these two events I will follow my running schedule ( I’m hoping the endorphins kick in at some point and I actually become addicted but until then) and stick with a healthy diet.

  • Wow – what a great idea. Susie Welch (Jack Welch’s wife) wrote 10-10-10 – the concept being to make all decisions based on how it will affect you 10 minutes, 10 months and 10 years from now.This is a great idea ONLY if you actually have a plan for the next 10 minutes, 10 months, 10 years!My goal for this year is to maintain my fighting weight of 125 even during the cold winter months, keep my diet healthy and start playing tennis again!My business goal this year is to build the business across several fronts so I will have income streams from every aspect of the business – this way if one sector slows, the others can buoy me through the lean months.My 10 year goal is to have both of my wonderful sons happy and healthy and in the college of their choosing. My fitness goals are always the same – eat well, keep an active lifestyle and challenge the body to stay in top form. And in 10 years my business will have taken off and my work will be exhibited and collected widely and I will be photographing important commissions throughout the world. Travel is always a goal! Thanks for the post and for your consistently inspiring words!

  • Hi Tom, your book has completely changed my life. Setting goals has been the single most important thing anyone can do and thanks to you I have all sorts of goals that I know for a fact I can achieve. So for my year goals, I intend to have finished setting up for optimal health. Setting the goal of eating good healthy food a year ago has lead me on a journey of discovery as I’ve learned of the marketing and chemical conspiracy that is causing people to lose hope. High fructose corn syrup, hidden/misleading labeling and poor farming techniques make eating far harder than it should ever be. By the end of the year I intend to be eating 6 meals a day, everything I eat to be organic and high nutrient density food, working out 5-7 days a week and approaching my goal of 8% bodyfat. While wrestling in high school I starved myself to make weight, but with you plan, I’m eating better than I ever have before, feeling great, and approaching my goal bodyfat % faster than ever.In ten years, I intend to be continuing with my meal and workout plans, have started my small business, and traveled the to recap:1 year:Be eating 6 high nutrient density, organic, meals, of the proper macronutrient ratios each day.Be working out 5 -7 days per week, with 30-60 minutes of cardio daily.8% bodyfat.10 yearsMaintain health program.Start successful business.Travel the world.Thanks again Tom.

  • Matthew Thompson

    Thanks for the opportunity Tom. This one is easy because I have these goals in my daily affirmations that I read almost every morning: I am reaching the most aggressive weight and body fat goal possible by the end of phase 2 (260# or less and 14% Body Fat or less) on or before 04/03# I am a highly competitive Highland Games athlete with at least 230# of Lean Body Mass and 10% Body Fat or less by End of September. In 10 years,A successful Consulting Engineer, and own a growing manufacturing facility in Saint Jo, TXo Living in our dream house on the farm in Texaso Free of “Bad” Debto a Competitive Amateur Highland Games Athlete (top 25 Nationally)o a Scratch Golfer (or better)o 255# & 8% Body Fat or less

  • Andrea Chrysanthou

    Hi Tom, I am an avid reader of your newsletters.My goal for this year is simply to be in the best shape of my life. At first look, it seems like such a big goal — almost unattainable. But when I break it down into monthly, weekly and daily goals, I know I can do it.I am working out and eat relatively clean, although I have to admit that my cheat days get the best of me, so that will be my major challenge.Having said that, I know that my success will inspire those around me, so it is simply something I must do! My parents and my children look to me to be an example and I don’t feel I have anything to offer unless I am offering 100%.For the next decade, I would like to continue working out and making fitness and nutrition priorities. As I enter my 40s, I know strength training is becoming even more important. My goal is to maintain my muscle mass and wear a bikini 10 years from now, with my head high!From a spiritual point of view, my goal for this year, and this decade, is to be happy. I believe this will be a harder goal to achieve. I strive to remember how lucky I am and to not take anything for granted. With everything that’s happening in the world right now, you would think that would be easier than it is. Never-the-less, I am working on it! It is my goal!

  • Scott Robertson

    Hi Tom, just want thank you for the quality advise that I have been receiving from you in the past 5 months. I used to train 6 times a week but due to work commitments I gave up for 3 years. U however explained how it isn’t just training that will get me into the body I desire but also nutrition and setting achievable goals. Now combining the two I am starting to see the results I want!8 month plan: body fat % down from 20 to 15for my wedding in September.18 month plan: have developed my golf academy into most successful in City whilst maintaining a healthy balance of training/nutrition.5 year plan: to be as ripped as I have ever been and have started a family.10 year plan: can I say to have won the lottery, be retired and loving life to the full?Cheers Tom, thanks for all your help mate, regards,Scott, Glasgow, Scotland.

  • Caroline C

    Hi Tom:Goal Setting — very important tool to become successful.I use post-it notes as daily reminders….. 21 times it becomes a habit ….. working out, eating right, positive attitude = dynamic individual. I totally agree with you. GOALS must be set and adhered to – to become effective. Yes, we are human, forgive your indiscretion and carry on … tomorrow is a new day, a new you.I will nearing the 50 mark this year and intend on being better than I was in the 40’s (30’s in fact). The past 2 years have been a wonder in my life. Starting to clear out cupboards of “nasty” foods. The fridge is filled with only “good” greens and colored veggies and fruits helping with those temptations. What I need is a “chef” in learning new ways to prepare foods; which BTW thanks for posting recipes etc. to try and yes, they have been great!In the past 2 years I am down 20 lbs….still struggling with the BF ratio and H20 levels…..most days I am in the winners circle, but my intention is to remain in the circle. I have opted to walk home from work everyday (6-7kms)……except extreme weather (which would be a windchill facter of -15C+) I have the gear and walking doesn’t cost a cent. At least if nothing else I have had some time for me and have gotten “steps” into my day. To do the rest is B-O-N-U-S!!! The REWARD = feeling of gratitude for spending time in God’s yard….. having a renewed spirit upon arriving home and want to fill your body with the good things that the earth provides.I am grateful to have found your site and read the BFFM….and would love to add your “autographed” new book to my collection, which would always be staring at me and saying “DO YOUR BEST AND THEN SOME!” Once you start feeling good — day after day, you WANT and NEED to continue on that path. The journey is worth every step for the RESULT(S).Thank you for the opportunity, I could go on forever…..well almost, gotta run and grab something to eat before the hunger pangs take over. Here;s to being the best we can and will be!Thank you again, Tom!Attitude of Gratitude.Caroline

  • Ralf Linka

    Hi Tom,you get to a stage in your life where you look back and ask yourself where it has all gone. You are only left with a feeling that back then there used to be something more.I fall into the category of people that has rigidly refused to set goals for himself, creating the illusion that life is more flexible that way and more “me”.All that is not true. I picked up “Burn the Fat…” and was confronted with your insistent challenge to close the book and write down goals. I did, it was late, I did not feel like it, my stuffy thoughts told me to push it to tomorrow when I was fresh and surely the goals would be better phrased if not better goals.Instead I cut through the fluff, and filled an A3 page with writing, it started bubbling out of me, I almost could not stop.I have been training most my life and never made it my passion, I love nutrition but always treated it as a side line, devoting my attention to a job that could not instill passion but seemed like the right thing to do, and treating my life as if it needed to conform to someone else’s ideals.I am 33 and these were hard and cutting realizations. To see clearly and realize that you have become average in your own eyes. The disappointment was profound. To be disappointed with oneself.Your challenge sparked something, something I have not felt and have been searching for for a very long time.It initiated change, solid change. It will be a long journey but I am finally looking further than just the horizon.Thank you for that, for providing that catalyst.Regards,Ralf

  • Hi, Tom, this is so great, love your blog

  • Dear Tom,I just want to let you know how much I appreciated the predictions newsletter you created for all your readers to see. I especially liked your last statement about thoughts, attitudes and actions. It really hit home with some things I am going through in my personal life. Thanks for sharing all your thoughts and inspiring me to open my own nutrition consulting business. I joined your program almost two years ago and started competing in bodybuilding a year and a half ago and I love it. Thanks again for all your inspirations.

    • Tom Venuto

      Thanks Elizabeth – happy to hear you found it inspiring. Keep up the great work!

  • Great Post! Happy New Year! It is indeed really inspiring post. I am sure many people will benefit from it! Keep up the good work!

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