There are five factors to smart goal setting that will make you much more likely to achieve success with your goals. The word SMART is actually an acronym, and it stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant/realistic, and timely.
First of all, your goals should be specific. Anyone can say “I want to lose weight”, but not follow through. If you say “I want to lose 30 pounds in the next 3 months by eating clean and workout out at least 5 days a week” you have a MUCH better chance of achieving your goal. To get specific, you should refer to your vision board and think about where you are versus where you want to be. You should start thinking about how you’re going to achieve your goal and come up with a specific plan to follow, and then think about the five w’s (where, what, when, why, and who – as in with whom will you be working with on this journey) It helps to have someone do this with you, so I highly recommend finding a partner.
Next your goals should be measurable. This means keeping track of things. I discussed above tracking nutrition and exercise, but you should also keep track of weight and measurements. Do your weight and measurements in the morning after you’ve been to the bathroom and before you’ve eaten food. This is the best time to get an accurate answer, while if you wait until later in the day your food and water intake may have bloated you out a bit and added a bit of extra weight to the scale that shouldn’t be there. Also keep track of your clothing size, because it will feel great to know where you started and where you ended up. Lastly, and arguably most importantly, TAKE PICTURES!! Weight and measurements can sometimes be super discouraging because your progress doesn’t always reflect in the numbers. This can happen as you put on muscle, which is denser than fat. This causes your body to shrink while your weight may seem to stay the same or only lower slightly. Pictures are my favorite way of tracking progress.
Sometimes people aim a bit too high, and that is why it is important that your goals are attainable. Have you ever made a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight, spent a couple of weeks working out almost every day and following through on your nutrition, and then phased out? A lot of people have, myself included. Where did we go wrong? We expected to see awesome results in a very short amount of time doing something that is not necessarily sustainable. Going from no exercise and diet to exercise daily and all diet is a huge transition. When you embark on a health and fitness journey, you need to realize that the weight wasn’t put on overnight, and it certainly is not going to come off overnight. It will take time and effort to achieve your goals, so you need to pick a workout plan and a nutrition plan that is going to be sustainable over time.
Next is to ensure that your goal is relevant/realistic, and this is where you really need to evaluate your goal to find out if this is something that is really important to you. If you determine that it is, you need to think about the reason behind it – because that will come in handy later if you start to feel yourself slipping and losing motivation. You need to figure out the root of the reason you want this if you’re going to stick with it, otherwise you won’t mentally associate it as being a priority. Once you realize that this is important to you and you figure out the primary reason that is driving you to do this in the first place, your next step is to assess that specific goal plan that you created to determine if it can help get you to where you want to be with respect to health and fitness. Your goal also has to be realistic. You can’t set a goal to lose 100 pounds in one month, because that would be setting yourself up for failure. Choose a goal that is realistic and attainable, and it will give you motivation to keep pushing. Too many people set goals they can’t achieve, and then they give up because they get frustrated. You can avoid that from the beginning simply by setting realistic goals.
Lastly, your goal should be timely. Deadlines are great for getting people to move their butts into action, and you should definitely use that to your advantage. If your goal is to lose 30 pounds in 3 months, you can break that up into smaller increments and set a goal to lose 10 pounds each month. You could even break it up further and set a goal to lose 5 pounds every 2 weeks. This helps you to focus on small goals little by little. Each time you hit one of your smaller goals, you’ll be excited to be inching closer to your larger goal, and it will give you motivation to keep moving forward.
I hope you found this article on goal setting to be useful, but if you have any questions, feel free to send them my way! If you have been considering making some positive changes with respect to health and fitness and you just aren’t sure where to start, you are invited to join my FREE Health and Fitness group.