Goal Setting for 2017
The new year is upon us, which means…. resolutions!
We set goals to get healthy: start taking yoga classes, meditate, cook more, bike more, eat more veggies and less sugar. And then, February 1st rolls around and we discover little has changed. What happened?
Well, usually its that we've bit off more than we can chew (pun intended), and we set goals that were just a bit out of reach.
So, this year we're going to embark on a goal setting adventure that leads to success and onto a sustainable path to wellness.
S.M.A.R.T. Goals (for healthy living)
Our focus for this goal setting session is health-related, but know that S.M.A.R.T. Goals can be set for any area of life including career, finance and home. S.M.A.R.T. stands for:
- Time Bound
What's your vision?
Seeing your ideal and healthier self in the future is a great start to setting a S.M.A.R.T. Goal. But, being too vague about what you want to achieve can make reaching your goal challenging.
Basic Goal: "I want to lose weight."
This is a great (and common) goal, but it doesn't specify how much weight or by when.
SMART Goal: "I will lose 1/2 pound per week for 10 weeks (a total of 5 pounds)."
This goal helps me with accountability because it says how much weight I will lose and by when.
What does it look like in the beginning, middle, end?
Measurable goals demonstrate a before and after effect, meaning you can clearly see, touch and measure the change.
My basic goal, "I want to lose weight." has some measurability, because most people know that 'lose' means my weight number will go down.
But I haven't stated how much weight I aim to lose and I haven't offered a starting point. This makes it impossible for someone else to know whether I've achieved my goal.
My SMART goal, "I will lose 1/2 pound per week for 10 weeks." is measurable and specifies my goal is to lose 5 pounds.
How hard are you willing to work?
If the goal is not realistic, it will not likely be achieved. Your goal should stretch your current limits, but you should still have the knowledge, skills or abilities to do what you hope to do (or at least be ready to go get the knowledge, skills or abilities).
Setting too big a goal is often the reason we do not achieve it… it's just too far out of reach.
While my SMART goal "I will lose 1/2 pound per week for 10 weeks." may not be a lofty goal or all of the weight I want to lose, I must lose 5 pounds before I can lose 6, 7, 10 or 20.
Did you know that 1 pound of fat contains 3,500 Calories?
Understanding how your goal must be achieved is important to achieving it.
For example: losing 1/2 pound per week will require me to cut 250 calories per day (either in food or by adding physical activity). This feels more doable and less taxing than aiming to lose 1 pound per week, which will require me to cut 500 calories per day (because 500 calories x 7 days = 3,500 calories or 1 pound in a week).
Read more about Calorie Balance.
What is the reason, purpose or benefit of achieving your goal?
Having a clear vision of why you are doing what you are doing can help you to stay focused when times get tough. Spend time to identify, define and explain your reasoning for pursuing your goal. This will better ensure you stay motivated in the longer-term.
Losing weight may be, at first, about looking and feeling better - but why do you want to feel better? Is it to keep up with your children or grandchildren? Is it to be able to walk that favorite hill you've been walking for years? Is it to reduce or come off of your blood pressure medication? Is it to be able to move around throughout the day without ache and pain?
Define your why and you can check off your results-focused checkbox.
How long to the finish line?
Creating goals with clear boundaries and timelines helps to build accountability and keep you results-focused.
If we go back to my basic goal, "I want to lose weight." this communicates my desire, but it doesn't tell when, how or what I'll be doing to get there.
My SMART goal, "I will lose 1/2 pound per week for 10 weeks." puts a time-frame on my efforts and gives me a measurable goal to work toward every week. This goal is also stated in the affirmative, which means I'm writing it as if I'm already doing it and not just desiring the result (i.e., I want to lose 5 pounds).
Also, try to set goals with a timeline that creates a sense of urgency because this will help to make it actionable right away. If I said, "I will lose 5 pounds in 10 weeks." this is time-bound, but it doesn't challenge me to get started right away.
What's it going to be this year?
- Print and write out your goal using this S.M.A.R.T. Goal Setting Worksheet.
- Still struggling? Check out this link for questions to get the thoughts flowing
- Once you write it out, send it to a buddy. Research shows that if we write down and share our goal, we're 33% more likely to achieve what we said we would. I like those odds!
Visit the Y and get started on your wellness journey today!
Join the Y in January and get 1/2 off the join fee! That's a $49 savings.
As a Y member you have all-the-time access to our 14 facility branches, including 5 swimming pools, 14 basketball courts, half a dozen TRX training systems and over 1,000 group exercise classes weekly.
And our expert team of Wellness Coaches and Personal Trainers can help you set and refine your wellness goals, and help keep you accountable.
We're here for A Better You. A Better Y. A Better Us.