Goal Setting: How to set S.M.A.R.T. goals

We all have goals. Correct? I sure do. I have goals for my marriage, goals for my day-to-day, goals for my business, goals for my children, goals for this blog, etc. I’m sure that once 2017 was almost over, you all started to outline what 2018 was going to look for you. Did you set a goal to lose weight? Go on vacation?

It doesn’t matter what your goal is — what matters most is HOW you plan to get there. Writing down your goal is easy. For example, “I want to lose weight.” Five words. Done. But how? What will you do to achieve that goal? We will use this goal as my example while I show you how you can make this goal a reality in the new year using the “S.M.A.R.T.” goal-setting process.

smart goal setting

S – Specific

Saying you want to lose weight is NOT specific. It outlines a basic goal of losing weight. Great! I meet a lot of clients who have this as their goal, and it’s a great goal, but it’s not specific enough. How much do you want to lose? When you have a NUMBER, then that is more specific and will give you something to strive for. So, instead of a basic goal of losing weight, you can change it to “I want to lose 10 pounds.”

M – Measurable

How will you know when you’ve reached this goal? Certainly losing weight is a measurable goal. You step on a scale until you reach that number right? Sure, easy enough, but how will you get to this goal though? Start by thinking about how you want to achieve this. “I want to lose 10 pounds by working out 30 minutes a day, 3-4x a week.”

A – Achievable

Is your goal achievable or attainable? (Those two A words are used interchangeably when speaking about S.M.A.R.T. goals.) Can you actually attain this goal? This is the time to be honest with yourself. If yes, then awesome. You can then start by saying “I will lose 10 pounds by working out 30 minutes a day, 3-4x a week, and my friend who also wants to lose weight will come with me. We will help push each other to exercise and achieve our goals.” Bam! But if you really think hard and you realize that you have to alter your goal, maybe changing how many times you can get to the gym in a week, then go back and rewrite that.

R – Realistic

Can you realistically achieve your goals? I touched on this briefly in the last paragraph, but this is gut check time. Are you setting yourself up for failure or success? For example, if I said that I will work out 5x a week this new year, I know it’s unrealistic for me to do that. Why? I’m chasing a toddler (which could be considered a workout) but also taking care of a 3 month old. If I set that as my goal, I would have already failed this week! (And don’t even get me started on the negative self talk, “Well, since I missed today, I already screwed up my goal, so I’m just going to stop caring anymore, blah blah blah.”) You WANT to set yourself up for success, but also remember that when making these initial goals, you can always change them as time progresses. If you realize that you CAN workout 5x a week, and your schedule allows for it, you can alter your goal as you progress. Start out with something realistic first and set yourself up for success right from the beginning.

T – Timely

Make sure they are timely too…have an end in sight. Don’t just say you want to lose X amount of pounds this new year, instead say “By Valentine’s Day I want to lose X pounds.” That gives you a light at the end of the tunnel, a day to focus on. It could be your birthday later in the year, a beach vacay in the summer, whatever, but find a date and set your goals to get you there. I’ll say it again, SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS. Don’t say you want to lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks. That isn’t realistic, nor is it healthy. So find a future date, one that is realistic to you, and mark it in your calendar. Let it be motivation to you.

In conclusion…

So let’s look at the initial goal of “I want to lose weight.” Going back and looking at the S.M.A.R.T. goal setting plan, we could now change your goal to “I want to lose X pounds by (insert your date). To achieve this I will workout 30 minutes a day, 3-4x a week. My friend will keep me accountable, and I her, for we both have the same goal in mind.” Now my friends, THAT is a quality goal. My challenge to you is to look at all the goals you’ve set for this new year and do this with EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. And don’t forget to treat yourself to something when you achieve them…maybe those new sneakers you’ve been eyeing up? That new workout outfit? Spa day? Anything! It makes victory all the more sweeter 🙂

Much love — C.P.

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