Thanksgiving food coma has gone. Hanukkah latkes have all been eaten. The Christmas cookies have been devoured (and we all know Santa didn’t eat them). New Year’s Eve came and brought champagne and chocolate, and most likely, a resolution.
Since you can’t hire people to follow you around all day slapping cookies out of our hands and forcing you to get on a treadmill, understand that thorough goal setting is extremely important to the outcome goal. Without proper goal setting, you’re left with vague ideas about what you want to achieve, and no way to get to the outcome. Goal setting seems innocent enough:
I resolve to get skinny.
I resolve to get healthy.
I resolve to to eat right.
I resolve to not shove brownies in my face every night.
While these goals are seemingly focused enough, they lack the necessities, thus setting you up for a letdown. According to Statistic Brain, only 8% of those who make a New Year’s Resolution succeed. Want a higher chance of achieving your resolution? Read on.
The following S.M.A.R.T. acronym can be used for all aspects of life. Use it to advance your career, become more organized, or set health and fitness goals for yourself.
S- Specific Make your goal as specific as possible. “To be healthy” is not the same as “To fit into my skinny pair of jeans.” The more specific the outcome of goal is, the better.
M-Measurable The goal must have a measurable outcome. “To lose weight” isn’t specific. How much weight? How do you know you don’t just want to lose fat? Do you want to lose inches off of your waist, increase muscle mass, fit into a specific size? A better outcome goal example would be, “To lose 3-5% bodyfat.”
A-Action Based What’s a goal without a game plan? How are you going to achieve your goal? You aren’t going to get into your skinny jeans without a roadmap on how to get there. An example of this is, “By performing weighted back squats 3 times a week, I hope to PR at ___lbs.”
R-Reasonable Before you set your goal, ask yourself if your goal is reasonable. There is nothing wrong with setting lofty goals, but make sure you don’t set your hopes too high. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither was your new lifestyle.
Unreasonable example: “To lose 20 lbs in the next 3 weeks.” 1- This isn’t a healthy. 2- Chances are, your body isn’t even able to lose that much weight in such a short period of time, setting you up for disappointment.
Reasonable example: “To lose 3 inches off of my waist over the course of the next 3 months.”
T-Time Oriented What is your goal time frame? Do you have an overall goal to obtain by December 31, 2014? Or are you setting separate goals for chunks of time between now and then? Think of your desired timeframe and apply it to your goal. It is entirely possible for you to have smaller goals that contribute to one larger, overall goal.
So (drumroll please) here is an example of a well planned goal:
“By lifting weights 3 days a week for the next year, staying within my daily target calorie consumption goals, and performing cardiovascular workouts 3 days a week, I will be a size 6.”
A few more goal tips:
Post your goal in a spot you will see daily. If you currently are struggling with eating empty calories at night, post our goal on the fridge so you aren’t tempted. Schedule a reminder of your goal in your cell phone so you remember what you are working towards. Stick a Post-It on your mirror to remind you of your ultimate goal. Whatever way you prefer, keep your goal visible.
Frequently check in with yourself. On a weekly basis, check in on how you are doing, and be honest with yourself. What did you do well this week? What could you do better next week?
Show yourself mercy, and get back on the horse. Everyone falls off the bandwagon, it happens. What matters most is that you get back up. You will never achieve your goal if you stop at the first hitch in your plan. Move on, and don’t let the past experience affect how you move forward.