The tree has been unplugged, the meals have been eaten, champagne bottles were popped, hugs with friends were embraced, celebrations were had and sequined skirts were worn (Yeah. I went there on New Year’s Eve). Now I’m left with empty Reese’s Peanut Butter wrappers and feeling like a blister ready to pop. I didn’t drink enough water, I ate too much salt, and I didn’t workout enough (as a side note, my heart is very full and happy as a result of previous mentioned celebrations).
So of course, the typical resolutions pop in my head: marathon train, lose weight, not overeat, yadda yadda yadda. Yet, these are all vague, thoughtless resolutions. When reality sets in with these resolutions, I realize I have no clear cut plan. And without a plan, the reality is, I will scramble.
But this year is different. This is the year I actually am willing to put in the work to make attainable goals. And with the goal of setting attainable goals comes the dreaded goal planning, for a goal without a plan is just a wish. So here, my friends, is a recipe for SUCCESSFUL goal setting.
S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for a goal setting formula well known in the fitness and non-fitness world. The formula allows you to set realistic goals with a desired outcome. Let’s break it down below (as this is a health and fitness blog, the goal breakdown will focus on fitness goals. However, this formula is applicable to any goal or resolution):
S- Specific- Make your goals specific. “Losing weight” is not a specific goal. “Losing 10 pounds by this time next year” is a specific goal. Focus on your goal having a specific outcome, and you are more likely to achieve it.
M-Measurable- Make sure your goal has a measurable outcome. “Eat healthier in 2015” is not a measurable goal. How will you eat healthier? Will you meal plan? Will you shop the perimeter of the store? Will you meal-prep? “Eat healthier in 2015 by meal planning 5 meals a week, and meal-prepping my lunches on Sundays” is a measurable goal.
A- Achievable- Is your goal setting you up for success? A goal can be specific and measurable, yet still set you up for failure by being unachievable. For example, resolving to lose 100 lbs when you have resolved to lose 20 in the past, and not achieved that goal, is setting you up for failure. Start with a small goal, for it is better to reach that goal and have to re-goal set than it is to fall short of your goal, and give up on other goals along the way.
R-Relevant- Do you hate running? Then don’t resolve to run a marathon. Do you hate eating “healthy”? Then resolve to find healthy alternatives to your favorite unhealthy meals instead of resolving to eat all foods you currently hate. Case in point: goals should challenge you to go outside of your comfort zone, however, if you already know you are going to hate your goal and every step of the goal reaching process, you should reevaluate your process and incorporate pieces into your goal you know you will enjoy. For example, “I resolve to lost 20 lbs. in 2015 by meal planning for 5 meals a week, and working out with friends 3 days a week.” Even if you hate exercising, you are still going to spend time with your friends working out.
T- Time-Bound- When do you want to accomplish your goal by? By December 31st, 2015 (a long-term goal)? Or are you using your goal to reach another goal, thus making it a short term goal? Be specific in the time-line of your goal. Additionally, having scheduled check ins every few weeks on the progress of your goals helps you stay on track and reach your goals.
Here is an example of a S.M.A.R.T. goal that will set you up for success:
I resolve to lose 15 pounds by December 31, 2015 by packing my lunch 4 times per week, and exercising for 45 minutes, 4 days a week either with friends or by attending a group exercise class. I will check in on my goal every 2 weeks to make sure I stay on track with my timeline.
Now that you have the recipe for a successful resolution, set your goals and share in the comments below!! I wish you all health, happiness, and a fit 2015!