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Setting a SMART Goal

Once you’ve decided that 2024 is the year you’ll get healthy, lose weight, eat more veggies, blah blah blah

 

I hope you haven’t given up already, but maybe you need help with that goal…or lack thereof.

 

Maybe you’ve heard you need to make SMART goals or haven’t, but I think most people don’t make these specific goals because vague means you can flake out on it feeling less guilty.

 

Let's look at how to set a SMART goal…

S- specific

M-measurable

A-achievable/attainable

R-realistic/relevant

T-timely

scrabble tiles spelling "make plan"
Making a plan will help you acheive your goals

(S)  There’s no getting around it…you MUST make the goal as specific as possible. How is this beneficial? If your goal is to “get healthier,” and you don’t know the result is…how will you ever know you’ve achieved it?  This can be scary. It is step one in becoming accountable to yourself. If your S is “lose 10lbs,” that puts a number that could signal failure.

 

(M) Now that you’ve narrowed your goal, you need to make that goal measurable. Do you want to eat more veggies/fruit?  Drink more water?  Lose 10lbs? Then how will you measure those? A scale for weight loss (even though there are other indicators). But for eating…how many veggies/fruits?  Once a meal?  Three times a day?  Once a week?  There are no wrong answers here, but you need the accountability of something to measure.

 

(A & R) Make sure this goal is attainable/realistic. Nothing is more disheartening than explaining to someone that they probably won’t lose 20 lbs in a month or that cutting out one type of food is the answer to all their prayers. Fitness isn’t a six-week plan where everything is fixed…health and wellness is a lifetime commitment. So, upending your life to create a new one usually isn’t attainable or realistic for the average person.

 

(T) You must put an end date on that goal. Why? It will make you work for it when there is a deadline. Again, it doesn’t mean your fitness goals will be final, and you never have to work towards a healthier lifestyle again, but it will give you an idea of how disciplined you are and what you need to tinker with for your next goal. Also, choosing a date WAY out in the future can make you less likely to work diligently on it each day, leading to failure as well.

 

So, what can that look like once you add all the ingredients to formulate your goal?

Here are a few examples:

-       I would like to lose 4-6lbs in 6 weeks

-       I would like to eat one cup of veggies for my lunch each day for one week

-       I would like to drink 2 cups of water every morning before I have breakfast for 14 days

 

Another side note about attainability and realistic aspects of goal making…try not to make a half dozen goals for yourself in one sitting.  You are more than allowed and (frankly) encouraged to work on one or two things at a time. If you try to put yourself in a deficit, change your sleeping habits, eat “better,” drink water, and get several workouts in a week all at once, it won’t be easy, and the likelihood of failure is relatively high. As you achieve one or two goals, you can add more or refine your current goal. You can finetune and figure yourself out as the journey continues but don’t overly stress yourself out at the beginning when it’s all brand new.

 

Here's a quick question guide for making a SMART goal:

 

What is your overall goal?

 

Choose one small aspect of this overall goal that you can make specific. 

 

How will you measure it?

 

Is this goal attainable/actionable/realistic?  How much will you have to change your lifestyle to achieve this goal?

 

Is your goal time-specific?  Does the deadline make the goal attainable? Or less so?

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