‘I want to lose weight’, ‘I want to be fitter’ etc.. These are not goals, they are wishes. To achieve these we need to switch our focus from the ‘end destination’ to the journey to get there.
SMART goal setting can turn it from a wish into something doable. It’s part motivation, part focused, part seeing the steps to the finish line. And if you do it right, it can make all the difference in being the healthy you that you want to be.
Let’s say your end destination is ‘being fitter and healthier’. You’ll need to break that down into steps and smaller goals to get you there. Things like ‘start exercising’ and ‘eat better’. And as for those smaller goals, let’s talk about setting SMART goals.
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and timely. Use these 5 steps in creating your goals and you’re well on your way to success.
The more specific your goals the better. It will help you focus and help you see the goal being achieved. ‘Start walking’ is too vague.. instead ‘I will walk to work every day’, or ‘I will walk on my lunch break for 20 minutes every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the next 10 weeks’.
To achieve a goal, you have to know if you’ve achieved it. Make sure that you can measure your progress. ‘Eat better’ can’t be measured. ‘eat 4 portions of vegetable every day’ is easy to measure. Only set goals that have a concrete measurement criteria.
If taking part in a 10k charity run in June is part of your journey to ‘being fitter and healthier’ that’s great. If running a marathon next month is in there, you may have overstepped the mark. Remember, make them ambitious but achievable. Start easy and set gradually more challenging goals.
Something that is practical for you and your circumstances. Hitting a goal feels great, not hitting a goal.. not so great. Be realistic, make sure your goals are doable given your abilities and commitments. For example ‘Doing a spinning class before work every Monday, Wednesday and Friday’ won’t work very well if you have to travel to work. Make sure you tie in your goals with your schedule. Be ambitious, but practical.
Putting a date to your goals gives them a sense of urgency and accountability. Set a time by which you would like to achieve the goal and then work towards it: ‘by the end of this week I will do yoga for 15 minutes’. Set more deadlines that will help you progress from one phase to the next. For example, you can decide that ‘by the end of the month I will be doing 30 minutes of yoga each day’ and then work towards that deadline.
Why not write them out each week, using the 2 heading below:
This week I will achieve
Reward for achieving Goals
Then at the end of the week, reflect on how you did.
Did you achieve your goals?
If not, why and what changes could you make to achieve them next week?