How many of you have made a list of resolutions, only to forget about them by June? Welcome to the club. Goal setting is an art and not all of us are Michelangelo. Why do goals fail? It comes down to lack of commitment or interest, unrealistic expectations, or ambiguous objectives. SMART goals can help you combat these things.
S-Make your goals specific. This will combat ambiguity. How will you know when you reach your goal? A common goal is “lose weight.” What is “lose weight?” If you go to the bathroom, did you lose weight? If you get the stomach flu, dehydrate or starve yourself, sweat a ton, or do a liquid diet for 72 hours, did you lose weight? If you started weight training and lost 3 lbs of fat and gained 3 lbs of muscle, did you lose weight? Be specific. How will you recognize when you’ve hit your goal? How will you get there? What signs of progress will there be? How will you measure that progress? The more detail your goal has, the more likely you’ll be to reach it.
M-Make your goals measurable. Don’t simply read more books, spend more time with you kids, do yoga, or spend less money. Quantify! Read 26 books with 200+ pages (sorry, Dr. Seuss doesn’t count), spend 1 hour of quality, screen-free time with each kid each day, do 30 minutes of yoga 3 days/week, and set of $100/month flex budget after bills. Measurement will also combat ambiguity in your goals and help you gauge your progress.
A-Make your goals achievable. If your goals are easily achievable, you combat unrealistic expectations. By all means, push yourself. Reach for the stars. Scare yourself a little. But don’t plan to run a marathon in a month if you’ve never even run a mile. Don’t try to read Don Quixote if you can’t even finish Harry Potter. Don’t plan to circumnavigate the globe in a sailboat with the family when you’re broke, busy and have no sailing experience. To be more relevant to my business here, don’t plan to exercise for one hour 5 days/week when you currently don’t exercise consistently at all. Start with small steps and short timelines you know you can reach. Start smaller and shorter than you feel like you need to. It’s like adding salt to a recipe; you can always add more, but you can’t take it out once it’s in. START SMALL! Success breeds success and you’ll find the traction you need to get started on bigger, more long-term goals. You can do it all, just not all at once.
R-Make your goals relevant. This will combat losing commitment or interest in your resolutions. I see so many people set goals they will never reach because they don’t like that activity. They set these goals because it sounds lofty and worthy, and many times, they are. The intentions are good, but these people are setting themselves up for failure because their goals are not relevant to their interests or objectives. I do not really enjoy running. I don’t enjoy working out for more than about 90 minutes MAX. I’d rather do other things with my day, frankly. Although an Ironman might sound impressive and feel awesome to finish, I will never set a goal to do one because it simply isn’t something I’d enjoy. I’d rather lift. I’d rather have flexibility in my training. I’d rather have short, intense, effective workouts. My goals should reflect this. This doesn’t necessarily mean to only do things you enjoy, but to make goals relevant to your life, abilities, and interests. Maybe you don’t enjoy exercise, but you know you need to integrate it into your life. Your first goal should be finding an activity you enjoy. Maybe you try something new once a week until you find something you’re excited about doing again. Go for a run, a hike, or a nature walk. Try swimming, soccer, racquetball, or basketball. Join a group fitness class like spin, zumba, or yoga. Find something you can do 3-4 times a week without dread and go from there. Again, although it might not be your favorite thing, it’s still relevant to you. You’re not trying to get fit doing something you hate (like running), falling off the wagon a couple weeks later, feeling like a failure, and reinforcing the idea that you hate working out.
T-Make your goals time-bound. Better yet, have several timelines for one goal. Decide to read 100 pages in your book by Saturday night with a goal of finishing the book by the end of the month. Save $50 a week to have $1000 saved before June for your summer vacation in July. If you have a deadline, you’re more likely to work hard and avoid procrastination. It can break big goals into smaller chunks that keep you from getting overwhelmed or feeling like you’ve made no progress. It gives you the incentive to make a plan, rather than simply having an idea or a wish. Your goal can be as lofty as you wish, but without a timeline, the chances of success are much more slim.
Before getting started, take a little time to evaluate yourself.
- Where do you fail?
- What are your excuses? Do they fall under lack of interest/commitment, unrealistic expectations, or ambiguity?
- What are some goals you need? How can you make these goals relevant and enjoyable to you? (Remember, take small steps).
- What are some goals you want? How can you keep these realistic and structured?
- Expect things to get boring, fall out of priority, and have off days. Are you ready to combat those things to stay consistent? Why haven’t you done it before? What’s different now? HOW are you more accountable than before?
Need help setting goals and staying accountable? Let me help! Contact me for more information.