What are SMART Goals? When we talk about goals, we often speak in general or more broad terms. “I want to lose weight” “I want to travel more” “I want to eat more vegetables”, but the reality is that by February, 80% of New Years Resolutions fail. So how can you prep yourself to avoid the inevitable fall-off that comes with most people’s resolutions when the lure of the New Year fades? You can do it by setting SMART goals. And we don’t just mean being intelligent about what goals you choose, we mean setting goals that are Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
Here are the 5 questions you should ask yourself to develop SMART goals for 2020
For this exercise, we’re going to take the common goal of “losing weight”, the most popular new year’s resolution, but unfortunately, often the most abandoned.
1. Is My Goal Specific?
The biggest problem with the “weight loss” goal, is that it’s often not specific. How much weight do you want to lose? How are you measuring it? Instead of, “I want to lose weight”, try “I want to lose 5 pounds of body fat.” (The reason we went with body fat specifically here, is because the number on the scale is often misleading when people start working out for the first time because they gain muscle, causing the number on the scale to go up).
2. Is My Goal Measurable
Now that we’ve made the goal specific, we need to check if it’s measurable. In this case, it is. There is a specific measurable element to this particular goal that we can track. If your body fat goes down 1 pound every week, we can measure that via the scale.
Now it’s time to see if your goal is attainable. In this case, losing 5 pounds of body fat is realistic for the average person. For others, it might be a major challenge or potentially unhealthy and you should adjust it accordingly. We will touch more on making your goal attainable by putting a time frame on it in the last question.
This is the “Why” behind your goal. This is what will drive and motivate you as you continue through the journey of your goal. If the goal isn’t relevant to your life and what you want to achieve, it will be difficult to stay motivated. So instead of “I want to lose 5 pounds of body fat”, let’s add to that and say, “I want to lose 5 pounds of body fat so that I live longer, feel better, and can play with my kids without feeling tired”. Now, when you’re tempted to stray from your goal, you have your why to look back to.
You need to make your goal time-bound. If you simply just throw out into the universe that you want to lose 5 pounds of body fat without a specific time frame, you’re setting yourself up for failure. By doing this, you’re giving yourself no end to your goal. You could lose 5 pounds of body fat in 3 months, or it could take 3 years. And the latter is often when we fall off the track. Give yourself shorter goals or what we call “micro-goals”. Your why can still stay the same as you transition from goal to goal, but the smaller goals within a time frame will help you to better stay on track and leave you feeling more accomplished as you hit those smaller goals.
For example, if you say I want to lose 5 pounds of body fat in 2 months, you’re much more likely to stay motivated and have fewer setbacks that throw you off track than if you say I want to lose 20 pounds of body fat in a year. It’s a lot easier to stick to your guns for 2 months than a year. So give yourself a short time frame that allows you to achieve something in a short amount of time and then set more goals after that within the same relevancy. After you’ve lost the five pounds of body fat, give yourself another stepping stone within the same “why”. For example, “I want to lose 5 more pounds of body fat in the next 2 months so I live longer, feel better, and can play with my kids without feeling tired”.
In that same vein of thought, make sure that you are making this goal attainable. Telling yourself you’re going to lose 5 pounds of body fat in a week is completely unrealistic and potentially dangerous. Whereas telling yourself you’re going to lose 5 pounds of body fat in 2 months is a much healthier and realistic goal.
Creating A Plan
Once you’ve established your SMART goal, write it down on a piece of paper and set a plan revolving around daily, weekly, and monthly, actionable items. These are things you can do every day, week, and month to progress towards your goal. Without these actionable items, your goal can seem insurmountable. Continuing with our example, your goal sheet would look something like this:
“I want to lose 5 pounds of body fat in the next 2 months so that I live longer, feel better, and can play more with my kids without feeling weighed down and tired.”
What are the actionable steps I can take to achieve that?
|Eat a substantial breakfast, that way I’m n-ot tempted by breakroom donuts|
Walk instead of drive to work
Pack my own balanced lunch with
vegetables and protein for work
Drink a protein shake after every
|Cut down to one drink a week|
Only get takeout or eat out once a week
Substitute a side of fries for a
salad when you eat out
Exercise at 3 times a week
Meal prep my dinners so I’m not tempted to order takeout
Take progress pictures so I can
visually see my progress
|Get an InBody scan to measure my progress and see where I need to improve|
Get bloodwork done at least once every
other month to see my health markers
Participate in a fun run or fitness challenge
others to keep myself motivated in the gym
These are just some examples of daily, weekly, and monthly action items that you can take to achieve the above goal. However, each person will vary in what their action items and even the time frame behind their goal needs to be.
Take your time and be patient and for more information about how you can work to achieve your goals for 2020, email firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to get started.