ME FishAbility: Goal Setting

As written in the January 2023 edition (Pg 28) of Commercial Fisheries News

Brie Weisman, OTR/L Maine FishAbility

Each New Year, 30-50% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. The practice helps us frame a vision of where we want to be in the future and invites sober self-assessment. Weight loss tops the popularity list, but fitness goals in general are very popular. Unfortunately, only 8% of people complete all their resolutions. This is not usually a matter of willpower, but instead an issue of planning and structuring resolutions for success. Fortunately, there are proven steps that greatly improve our likelihood of success.


Make goals achievable. Setting the goal of reclaiming your all-state high school basketball
body is probably unrealistic, but a goal of participating in fitness activities throughout the year is
realistic and will achieve results.

Give goals observable relevance. “I want to be fit” becomes “I want to be fit enough that
my back does not hurt after work, and I have energy for other activities.”

Break goals down into short-term goals (STGs) and long-term goals (LTG). STG: Participate in cardiovascular or strength training three days/week for two months. LTG: In six months, graduate to cardiovascular exercise five days/week and lifting three days/week.

Quantify goals. Vagueness and intangibility are success’s enemies, definability and
measurability its allies. What does “more fit” mean? For some it’s climbing a flight of stairs
without sucking for air at the top, for others, it’s being able to reach the local mountain peak
within two hours. Starting running? Say how many miles, how often. Losing fat? State how
many pounds or inches around the waist.

Understand the variability inherent in goals. Many people get discouraged by slowing
progress, plateaus, and backsliding during the year. Life happens! Whether it’s an illness,
seasonally longer workdays, or family obligations, expect things to get in the way. Remember,
you’re working for the LTG, those STGs are merely tools for getting there. Sometimes tools
break. Repair and move on.

Review your goals. Our goals aren’t always reasonable. Fortunately, unless one of your
resolutions was to learn masonry, nothing’s set in stone. If you’re putting in the time and effort
but still cannot meet your goal, that’s not an admission of weak character, it’s a hard worker
meeting an unrealistic goal. Modify it. Conversely, if you’re easily blowing past original goals and
enjoy your challenging new activity, you may actually set yourself more ambitious goals.
Post your goals prominently on the fridge door or wherever you’ll see them often. Consider
regularly scheduled reviews; weekly, monthly, or quarterly, depending on the goal and your own
need for structure.

Share your goals with friends and family. Informing people of goals increases our success

Remember, the basic rules of good goal setting apply to any goal. We all have hopes and fears
and dreams, but we do not always address them with goals and plans to help achieve them.
The most sure-fire way of never reaching a goal is to never set it. The second best way is to set
it without a plan. These are challenging times for fishermen, and good goal-setting will help boat
crews and businesses to meet challenges just as much as individuals.