The new year is approaching fast, and it’s the time of year the for reflection, and possibly goal setting.
New Year Resolutioners have gotten a bad rep recently, but if someone is setting a goal and truly trying to better themselves, then no one should be passing judgement.
Let’s make this year your last New Year resolution by setting effective and motivating goals
Find Your Deep Motivators
So how do we do this? The first step to goal setting is figuring out your deep motivators, your “why”
Why do you care about losing those 15 lbs or gaining that muscle or boosting that max out on bench?
Why does it really matter to you? How is it going to improve your day to day?
Once you have taken some time to reflect and come up with your deeper why and motivation that will keep you going far beyond February, even when life starts to get in the way. It’s easier for your goal to feel significant and relevant in moments of stress when it’s closely tied to something that truly matters to you.
The next step is to take the guess work out of achieving your goal and create some structure.
That’s where S.M.A.R.T Goals come into play.
Let’s take the common goal “I want to lose weight” and make it a little smarter
S.M.A.R.T Goals stands for
Specific – “I want to lose weight” Isn’t enough, it’s too vague, and it’s going to be way too easy to quit 1 week in after a long day of work. How about something more like, “ I want to lose 20 lbs” This is more specific, making it feel more attainable. It gives your something to look forward to, a light at the end of the tunnel.
Measurable – This can be measured by a scale, fitting into a certain pair of jeans, dress, doing a certain amount of reps or weight for an exercise, etc. Some kind of measurement to confirm your progress. In the previous step we established the goal of losing 20lbs, so of course you could simply track your weight loss as normal. However, if you have that goal because there’s a certain outfit or article of clothing you want to wear, that can be your measurement. So your goal becomes “I want to lose 20lbs to fit into my favorite jeans”
Achievable – Is your goal realistic or are you setting yourself up for failure? Ex. You set a goal of losing 20 lbs in 1 month. The recommended, safe rate of weight loss is 4-8 lbs per month. Therefore, this goal is not at all achievable and can even be dangerous for both your mental & physical health. If 20 lbs is your weight loss goal, great! Let’s set that to be achieved in 2 ½ -5 months, so we are within safe weight loss recommendations.
Relevant – Is this the right time for this goal? Is it the right goal for you? This is the time to revisit your deeper why, is there any part of your goal or the process that feels irrelevant to your why. For example if your why is to have the energy to play with your kids, but your goal were to have a 6 pack while that goal is fine it may be irrelevant. Especially if you’re expecting a stressful few months coming up. There is nothing wrong with the 6 pack being your goal but perhaps if it’s not relevant to where you are at this moment it may be better suited as a longer term goal.
Time-Bound – Set a target date to help lay out a roadmap to achieving your goal. We already established a healthy pace to lose 20lbs. So let’s say you expect to be diligent and consistent but you know life will interrupt here and there, a pace of just over 1lb a week is likely the healthiest pace for you. So you would land at about 4 months to reach your goal.
Your goal now goes from “I want to lose 20lbs” to “I want to lose 20lbs within 4mos so I can fit into my favorite jeans and have the energy to play with my kids”
I know that feels long-winded but making that phrase your mantra helps you constantly remind yourself of why what you’re doing is important even if you don’t feel like it.
As you plan your goals depending on your preference & personality type you can also choose to set micro goals to track progress each month.
Take some time to sit down and reflect on what your current goals are going into the new year. Reflect on your real reason for choosing that goal for yourself and make sure you check all of these boxes listed above in the SMART goals guidelines. You will find yourself on a much more effective path to success!
If you would like to learn more about goal setting and motivating we expand much further on this topic in our Free Wellness eCourse