The actual act of setting goals isn’t very difficult.
But setting real, reachable goals – that’s a whole different beast.
If you’re going to make a change in your life, you have to turn your dreams into goals, and your goals into plan. It’s the only way it’s going to work.
I don’t mean, “I want to look hot in a bikini.” I mean real, legitimate goals. Specific, real things that are actually achievable. I’m not saying that you’ll never look hot in a bikini, but that’s pretty internally judged. I want you to set goals that you are able to write down on a piece of paper.
Enter S.M.A.R.T Goals
Specific – Pinpointed on one specific thing
Measurable – It is easily trackable. Meaning that there are generally numbers involved.
Achievable – Make sure that it’s achievable in the time you’ve set for yourself.
Realistic – Be real. Make sure it’s something that is realistic for you.
Timeframe – It needs to be able to be set in a time frame. At the end of each timeframe that you’ve set for yourself, you create new goals.
Seems pretty basic, right?
I was always super annoyed when they told me this in school. It seems so obvious that it isn’t something that we should waste our time ‘learning’ about.
But so many times we set outrageous goals for ourselves that we’re never going to achieve, so when we let ourselves down, we just give up. And then we feel worthless and instead of moving in a positive direction, we either stop or go backwards. I used to like to say that I would lose 50 pounds in a month. That’s over 12 pounds a week. Instead, I needed to figure out what needed to change. Either the amount of weight I wanted to lose, or the time frame that I wanted to lose it in. Here is an example.
S – Lose a specific amount of weight.
M – 12 pounds
A – It would work out to be about three pounds a week, which is very doable.
R – Looking at the time frame that I chose, I think it is very realistic.
T – One month, four weeks.
It may have been simpler to say, I want to lose 12 pounds a month. But sometimes it’s good to double check that it’s actually possible. I get caught up all the time in setting unrealistic expectations for myself, be it with weight loss or otherwise. When it doesn’t happen, I get angry with myself. While it may seem like there’s room for more, there are always things that come up. It’s better to set realistic goals and do over and above, than set goals that are over achieving, and not getting any of it done.
Here’s your homework.
Create a single goal that you can achieve in a year’s time. Then break that goal down into four separate, smaller goals that you can achieve every three months. Then focus on creating a goal that you can succeed in every month that brings you to that goal in the middle, which ultimately brings you to that big goal. It may seem like a lot of work for something so simple, but it really will be worth it.
When you look at your goals this way, they actually seem achievable. Saying, “I need to work out more” may be a true statement, but it isn’t a specific enough thing to try to achieve. But saying, “I want to go to the gym and jog on the treadmill for 30 minutes 3-5 times a week” is a perfect example of setting a goal that fits inside the SMART goals layout.
Track each of the goals you set.
Dedicate a notebook to be your “Goal Book” and have each goal be represented in two or three pages. If you’re trying to lose weight, write down how much weight you lose each week. If you’re trying to make it to the gym more, write down each day you went with what you did. Something so simple can be just the thing to get you motivated enough to want to keep going.
Put this book where you can see it every day. Maybe even consider putting sticky notes on the bathroom mirror or on the back of your door. It’s easy to “set it and forget it” with these types of things, which somehow justifies letting it all go to the wayside. Don’t let that happen. Make a conscious effort to remind yourself of your goals daily, even hourly if you need to.
What have you found that works for you? What kind of goals are you setting?