Want to lose weight? Get healthy? Run a race? Learn to cook?
Those goals are great, but you know what could make them even better? Make them SMART. You’ve probably heard these before in meetings at work or business classes or seminars, they apply to all aspects of life, but I think these rules for goal setting are especially applicable to personal health.
S. Specific, Significant, Simple
So you want to get skinny. Wanting to lose weight is a great place to start, but that’s not very specific. Pick a number that is significant to you. You want to be able to run? Cool. But for how long and how fast? Setting a goal to be able to run a 10 minute mile without stopping is much more specific.
M. Measurable, Meaningful, Manageable
Have you set a goal that allows you to measure your progress? Evaluate the reasons behind setting your goals and make sure they are meaningful enough to remember when you start to waver. “I want to look good in clothes” is great reason to lose weight as long as you know that you won’t be satisfied and lose focus once you buy pair of Spanx. “I don’t want to develop diabetes like my mother” is a much more emotionally meaningful reason to get healthy. And please remember not to overwhelm yourself. Keep it manageable. Pace yourself.
A. Attainable, Achievable, Actionable
Set goals that are attainable. Setting smaller more achievable goals that will add up to a larger goal will be easier to accomplish. “I want to lose 5 pounds this month” sounds much more doable than “I want to lose 60 pounds this year”. Phrase your goals in a way which makes them actionable. In other words, say “I want to lose 5 pounds this month by eating more fruits and vegetables and less dairy” and actually do it!
R. Relevant, Realistic, Results Oriented
Set goals that are relevant to your life. A goal to run a marathon is awesome, but not really realistic for someone who cannot yet run a mile. Do you even like to run? If the answer is No, then that’s not really a relevant goal. And look for results. “I want to get healthy” is a hard goal to allow you to say “look y’all, I did it!” but, “I want to run a 5K” and then coming in 5th in your age group at your first race, those are results.
T. Time-bound, Tangible, Trackable
Your goal to lose 5 pounds should have a time limit. A Week, month, year? You choose. But set it. Goals without end dates get pushed to the side and forgotten about. Pick tangible goals you can physically see when you accomplish them; 5 pounds less on the scale, 2 inches gone around the waist, a minute off your mile pace. Put those numbers on paper (or the internet if that’s your style). Keep track of your accomplishments. You have no idea how inspiring it is to be able to look back on your progress in order to regain focus for your future goals. You’ve lost 5 pounds before, you can do it again.
My goals are SMART:
- My specific goal is to lose 20 more pounds so that I am in the “normal” range on the BMI scale and can finally breakthrough this plateau I’ve been stuck at for a few months.
- In doing so I will be able to run a 9 minute mile without stopping, increase my weight on the bar at Crossfit by 10 pounds on every lift, and wear a size 12 jeans. This is meaningful to me to be able to improve my fitness in order to stay healthy and impress my brain surgeon.
- I will do so by losing 1 pound per week by exercising consistently and limiting cheats in my diet.
- I have lost a significant amount of weight already, so I know this is possible. My fitness goals are relevant to my lifestyle and current activities. My weight goal is not too low for my body and I will be able to measure my progress.
- I would like to accomplish these goals by Christmas of this year (7 months from now) so that I can buy smaller jeans and cute workout clothes with my extra gift money.
Everyone has something they wish to accomplish. So take these SMART goals and put them into action! Nothing is impossible.
“What we can or cannot do, what we consider possible or impossible, is rarely a function of our true capability. It is more likely a function of our beliefs about who we are. – Tony Robbins”