We complete goals — large and small — every day. We brush our teeth, drive to the office, hit our sales marks, prepare for meetings, and even manage to get dinner on the table, all within 24 hours.
So, why is it so tough to hold ourselves accountable to those long-term goals we really want to accomplish? The answer: We are not being S.M.A.R.T. about the goal-setting process.
S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym you can use to set goals in a way that allows you to map out your plan to actually achieve the results you want this year. When you learn how to set goals in this way, you will finally be able to fully commit yourself to reach, surpass, and maintain whatever goal you are trying to crush. One of Fitspot’s mental wellness offerings includes educational workshops, and a popular topic in the new year is “How to Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals.”
Keep reading below more info about each step of the goal-setting process.
The beauty is in the details. State clearly what you are trying to achieve, how you’re going to achieve it, and all of the reasons why you want to achieve it. Who else needs to be involved — a friend, personal trainer, advisor? What steps will be involved? How will you have to adjust your current lifestyle? What other positive outcomes will you experience?
Example Goal: Lose Weight. If you’re trying to lose weight, some positive side effects include: feeling more confident in your clothes, being able to move around with fewer aches and pains, or having more energy for exercise. You may need to invest in a personal trainer, enroll in a fitness center, or find friends to take a class with you.
Numbers don’t lie! Goals need to be tracked so that you can check that you’re staying focused and making progress. You can have an overall metric, but you can also have smaller, shorter-term marks to achieve along the way.
Example Goal: Quit Smoking. Determine how many cigarettes you smoke in a typical day. Create a goal to cut that number by “X” amount of cigarettes each week and tally your progress. Simultaneously chart your ability to breathe when climbing stairs—see the correlations build!
They say to “reach for the stars,” but goals that are too ambitious can set you up to fail. Instead, make sure your goal is actually achievable and practical. Aim for the top shelf: You may have to climb some hurdles and stretch your limits, but at least you can see what you’re reaching for.
Example Goal: Work out for one hour every day. More often than not, life knocks at our door and can kick our intended plans aside. There may be days you do not feel well, work is incredibly busy, or family obligations push aside your workout plans. Instead of making a 7-day-per-week plan, start with a more flexible goal, like working out for 30 minutes a day 4 or 5 days per week.
Make sure your goal is right for right now. Ask yourself: Is it worthwhile? Is this the right time? Is it applicable in my socio-economic environment? If you answer no to any of the above, you don’t need to ditch the goal entirely, but take a step back and modify it to match your current reality. We all need support and assistance in achieving our goals, but it’s important to retain control over them.
Example Goal: Eat Completely Vegan. In theory this may be attainable for some people. But say you’re a busy office worker on a tight budget, who has many lunch meetings, and who likes eating dinner with your family. These components may make going entirely vegan too far of a stretch for your current lifestyle, since you’re not often in control of your menu. Instead, you may want to adjust your goal to simply cut out certain foods (like bacon or fried chicken) and choose vegan options whenever possible.
Attach a target date to your goal. This helps to prevent minor tasks from taking priority over your longer-term goals. Start with your end-goal date and then make mini-milestone dates (such as two weeks, two months, etc.), so that you know you are making progress.
Example Goal: Run a 5K. Register for a 5K! Your current fitness level will dictate how far away the event needs to be to create a proper training plan. Your training plan will consist of hitting mile markers on your runs, achieving time goals, and building your stamina leading up to the race!
Bring S.M.A.R.T. goals to your workplace! Fitspot can bring educational workshops to your workplace.