Achieving a big goal can be a daunting thing to think about. The amount of time, effort, and tenacity achieving a big goal takes can seem unappealing. That’s why it is best to break down bigger goals into bite sized chunks. When I first became PN (Precision Nutrition) certified two years ago I was introduced to the GSPA model. This model describes how we can break down bigger goals into smaller, more manageable, daily actions. GSPA stand for goals, skills, practices, and actions. Each tier in this model represents a piece of the puzzle when working towards a big goal. Let’s start from the top and work or way down.
This is the big picture. This is the dream physique. The dream feeling. The waking up every day thriving. This is where it all starts. This piece provides the direction that will guide all decision making during the process. In this step the goal is to create a meaningful picture of what you want and why you want it. For example; feeling better, is not a good big picture goal. However; I want to feel better so that I feel confident at work and feel great in my body every day, is a much clearer and meaningful goal. During this step I want you to think deeply about what you want and the why behind it. Once this is established it’s time to move on.
Skills are the behaviors that allow the big picture goal to be achieved. For example, someone that feels good every day will need some skills to achieve that. There’s a good chance they won’t be stuffing their face with processed food and missing out on sleep on a regular basis. At this stage it is important to determine what types of behaviors are needed to achieve the big goal. Using the example above a few skills I can think of include; eating foods that fuel and nourish the body, moving regularly and often, and getting restful sleep more often than not. These behaviors, practiced regularly should allow for the big goal to be achieved. During this part of the process I have found that determining two to four big skills is a good starting point for most goals.
Practices are the next tier in the GSPA model. Practices are what allow skills to be built. During this stage it is best to think about what smaller actions need to be completed to build a skill. Using the example above of eating foods that fuel the body a few practices that I can think of include; eating regularly throughout the day, eating a lean protein source with every meal, eating some type of vegetable with every meal. Practices give us direction to figure out what actions need to be worked on. In this scenario let’s say this person was only eating protein once per day. In order to achieve the larger goal they will have to up their protein intake. Figuring out clear practices allows the setting of clear and concise daily actions.
This is where the big goal is finally broken down into actionable steps. Using the practices created from the last step we can figure out what daily habits need to be built. Continuing with the example above concerning regular protein intake. If this person struggles with consistent protein intake we first need to determine why that is. Do they not like protein rich foods? Do they not enjoy cooking? Are they crunched for time and in a rush? These details are important when figuring out what actions to work on. Let’s say this person is very busy and doesn’t have the time to cook. This problem could be solved by creating a weekly meal prep routine. Now instead of cooking every day this person can cook once during the week and have food ready for all days.
This is a very crude example of how to use this model, but I hope this has shed some light on the steps necessary to break down a big goal into small manageable pieces. I have used this model to help hundreds of people get results on their schedule. I believe that with the right approach this model can work for everyone. If you have been struggling to reach your goals try using this model to break it down into more manageable pieces.
My name is Patriel Dunford and as the owner of Infinite Fitness my main goal in life is to spread good advice in the health industry and help people live healthier, longer, more fulfilling lives.