What are SMART goals?
How many times have you failed at reaching your weight goals? If you are like me, a lot more than you want to count. Sure, I start off with lofty goals and can remain excited about them for few days or maybe a week. But then comes the inevitable point where you forget about your goal for minute, or your life takes over and poof… you have lost focus.
Enter SMART goals. A SMART goal is one that is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. By ensuring your goals meet these 5 criteria, you are visualizing the end result and setting yourself up for success. When done correctly, you give yourself a major weapon against procrastination and excuses. Let’s look at what a SMART goal is.
What do you want to achieve? Your goal needs to be specific. For example, instead of simply saying “I want to lose weight”, I need to say “I want to weigh less than 175 lbs.” When I add a level of specificity to my goal, I make it something I can realize in my brain.
To be measurable, you need something that you can prove you reached with a concrete definition. When I say, “I want to be able to move around better”, that is not a measurable goal. However, if I change that to “I want be able to walk a mile without my knee giving out on me”, that is something I can measure and I can envision the baby steps it will take to reach that goal – walking a quarter mile, walking a half mile, etc.
Your goal must be achievable. I’d love to wake up tomorrow and step on the scale at 175 pounds. But is that achievable? My body needs time to burn off all the fat it has stored the past 12 years! If I have 150 pounds I want to lose and I assume I can lose 10 pounds a month, then I need to give myself 15 months to reach my goal. Setting unachievable goals is guaranteed way to fail. Once you realize you won’t succeed, your mind is going to question why you are putting in all this work and you will begin to give up on your goal instead of extending its deadline.
When deciding if a goal is relevant, you need to compare it to your other goals. Is this the right time for you to be taking on this new goal? Why do you want to reach this goal? Are you doing this for yourself or someone else? It’s only after you ask yourself the difficult questions about why you are wanting this goal now can you really begin to see yourself completing it.
Don’t take on a goal if it is to make those around you like you more. What if you start improving your health and no one notices? You’re more likely to give up. The only way to truly reach your goal is if it’s for you. I am tired of not being able to move around easily. I’m tired of not going out with my friends because I’m I can’t keep up with all that they do. And I want to go out and experience these things… if it wasn’t for my weight. When the goal is about YOUR happiness, you will see the improvements in your life and it’ll motivate you to continue with your goal.
Your goal needs an end date. Failing to set a date allows for procrastination and other daily tasks to take precedence. This can be the trickiest criteria to set as it can often make your goal unachievable. It’s a balancing act between setting a goal that is going to take your focus every day versus one that is still reachable. If you are setting a weight loss goal, make sure you account for things like plateaus and bad meals. Don’t assume you will lose weight in a straight line – there will be up days and extended no-loss days in there too.