Living your healthiest life can be a challenge, but goal setting is one of the most efficient and effective ways to get to a healthy and happy place. We want to lose weight, be better at tracking our food, say no to that late-night sugar craving. These are all goals we’ve probably set for ourselves at one time or another, but these goals aren’t as SMART as they could be. Here’s what I mean:
When setting a short-term goal, it is important to be able to identify each piece of the acronym. Not only will it be clear and easy to understand, but following the SMART goal ideas will increase the likelihood of you achieving it! Let’s look at an example:
Original goal: I want to lose weight.
Doesn’t this sound familiar? We’ve all had this goal. It’s easy to understand, but it isn’t SMART. How can we make it into a SMART goal?
To be specific about your goal means understanding why you want to achieve it. Why is it important? What, exactly, do I want to accomplish? Maybe you want to lose weight so that you have the energy to run around the block while your kids, or you want to feel confident when you head down to Florida for vacation. Give yourself a reason.
Tell me exactly how much/many. Quantify. This month, my goal is to lose 3 pounds. When you give yourself a specific number, it is easier to hold yourself accountable.
Is this realistic? Can you honestly achieve this goal in the time frame you’ve set for yourself? 3 pounds in a month? Probably a great, very attainable goal. 25 pounds in a month? Probably not as much. Don’t set yourself up for failure or to be disappointed, but don’t cheat yourself either! A goal should be something you work towards, but pick something that you can actually accomplish.
Is losing weight something that I should be doing right now? Is it worthwhile to my health and happiness? Will this help me achieve additional goals in the future? This one pretty much speaks for itself.
When do I want to have completed this goal? Are there time-oriented milestones that I can use to keep myself on track? If you never set a date of completion, you may never get it done!
Using the SMART goal tips, let’s transform our original goal.
Original Goal: I want to lose weight.
SMART Goal: I want to lose 3 pounds during the month of April so that I can more easily mow the lawn and clean up the yard before summer begins. I will do this by tracking my meals in My Fitness Pal every day and working out 4 days per week.
You’ll be surprised how much more confident you feel when working towards them if you’ve really thought them through. Try implementing SMART goals into your F5 routine, as well as your monthly goals on the whiteboard at the gym!
http://www.hr.virginia.edu/uploads/documents/media/Writing_SMART_Goals.pdf — (there is a worksheet at the bottom of this link that can guide you through writing your own SMART goal!)