How to Set the Stage to Reach All Your Goals

set-the-stage | Kourtney Thomas Fitness

I often hear and see fitness and physique goals that look or sound something like this:

I want to tone the back of my arms.

I want to get rid of that weird crease below my butt cheek.

And in fact, one of my current goals is total trap domination. (Screw delts, traps are the new “it” muscle.)

But it took me a long, long time to get to the point where I developed a legitimate goal focused solely on one body part. Not only did it take me years of experimenting my way through many different kinds of movement, but years more of mindset work around body confidence, creating consistency and healthy habits surrounding exercise and eating, and another year or more specifically focusing on hypertrophy as a whole. That stuff? It’s the important stuff.

Prioritizing consistent movement that you enjoy and eating well, while committing to an overall healthy lifestyle are the big rocks that you need to concern yourself with before ever considering digging down into the dirt any further to the small pebbles.

Butt wrinkles, hip dips, tricep horeshoes, and traps are all small pebbles. Macro counting, supplements, and meal timing are all small pebbles.

And I want to see you moving big rocks for a long time before you pick up the little paintbrush to start dusting away at little pebbles. Not only is it nearly impossible to make any progress with the small stuff until you move the big stuff, it’s bound to end up discouraging you and possibly leading you away from even the big rocks.

I get it. It’s easier to focus on the small stuff. It’s sexier to piece ourselves out, to pull out flaws, to break it down into seemingly more manageable chunks, or super-perfectionist details. And the mainstream media and weight loss industries would still have us think that it’s easier and sexier to make these goals happen too. In reality? That’s not the case.

The truth is, prioritizing the big and boring stuff is the only path to your Unicorn goals. It’s not sexy to make your goal to build a strong foundation, but you can’t start picking out cabinet knobs and carpet colors without first erecting your castle, you know?

So, even though your ultimate goal may be to work on your non-existent traps (seriously, WHY do I not have any traps?!) or have a perkier booty or bigger arms, you have to set the stage first. And setting that stage may be a process of several months, it may be several years, but it’s most definitely going to be a long-haul journey, not a quick fix. How do you set that up? What exactly are the big rock goals to start building now?


I’ve harped on it before, and I’ll continue to do so. Establish a routine. Use a program. Stick with it for the long term. Hire a coach for accountability if you need to. Get a buddy. Determine what’s realistic for you, whether that’s three days per week of exercise, or six days per week. Keep doing it, even when the weather sucks or it’s dark out or work is busy. Map out what it’s going to look like, and then commit. Which brings me to…


What happens when you push a rock halfway up a slope and then give up? Yeah, not pretty. It’s very much the same with your fitness goals. We’ve all struggled with this part, and really it comes down to your priorities. Make yourself one of them, lay the groundwork, and keep pushing that big rock up, even when it gets tough.

Comprehensive view.

You want to think of both of the above in terms of a bird-eye view. You know you can stop eating junk and add a veg to at least two meals a day and increase lean protein consumption. You know you have time for some kind exercise at least 30 minutes a day. You know you have a few minutes for five deep breaths in a quiet space. And you also need to know that you don’t have to think about adjusting macros every two weeks (or macros at all!), creating the perfect workout plan and following it to the letter, or an elaborate bubble bath with candles and rose petals. Hit the general stuff. Big rocks, remember?

And that’s it. Start with just those three things in mind. They apply to everything that falls into the big rocks category – eating, exercise, mindset, self-care, you-name-it – consistency and commitment will get you a long way toward any goal, and taking a 10,000-feet view instead of a ground view will help you see the bigger picture a lot more easily. Don’t get bogged down with the small pebbles just yet, focus on your big rocks first.

And your big life, of course.

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