Your SMARTEST Goals
“A goal properly set is halfway reached” – Zig Ziglar/Abraham Lincoln
It’s that time of year again when one year is coming to an end and a new one is beginning. While we put a lot of significance on this time of year I am not the biggest fan of New Years Resolutions. Why? Well because I have many clients, family and friends who all set out to achieve something major and are left bored, unmotivated or distracted by week 2 or 3. Do not get me wrong, I believe you are all capable of far more than you give yourselves credit for but I feel helpless when you fall short of your goals and I want more for you and YOU want more for you.
One of the biggest reasons for this lack of follow through I believe is that we are unable to set the right kind of goals. We look to our dreams and aspirations and expect them to be achieved overnight. I am not trying to deter you from your biggest hopes and dreams. Heck my dad told me to jump off the cliff when I wanted to start this thing so I am no stranger to dreaming big. However, we need to be realistic (see below) and set goals that are meaningful and achievable for us, no one else.
If we do not make goals that fit our needs, we end up with our old habits and ways. We forget why we wanted to do something and say the heck with it. I want you to know how to set goals that will get you to your dreams and aspirations, not ones that leave you feeling useless, worthless and angry.
Side note: Along the same lines, I LOVE my friend and fellow RD’s newest post on This Word Sefl-Sabotages Your New Year’s Resolutions so check that out to make sure you don’t include this word in your goals and resolutions.
Alright, onward to how to make the SMARTEST goals for your New Year.
What does SMARTEST Goals stand for?
First off lets figure out what SMARTEST goals stand for. Most people talk about SMART goals but I wanted to up the ante and give your goals more life (so I added the “EST”). Do not get overwhelmed by this acronym instead use it to test your goals. If you are able to match some or most of the below with your goal then you are on a good path. By all means find someone who is experienced in setting goals to help you check yours. Find a coach, trainer, dietitian, therapist, etc. to help you and get on your way to making the changes you always hoped to make.
Let’s become the SMARTEST goals setters yet!
We need to be as specific as possible. Include the who, what, where and why. It needs to be precise and clear so that if someone read it who did not know you, they would be able to know exactly what you were talking about. Do not say you want to run more, instead, say you want to run X miles for Y time to achieve Z outcome.
You know what “they” say…”If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” There must be some way to measure your goal, after all if it’s not, how will you know if you hit your goal or not? You should be able to answer the question how much, how many and/or how will I know when I’ve accomplished this goal. Put a measure on it and if you are unsure what to measure, ask someone! If you want to lose weight, you must weigh in, if you want to run a certain distance or time you must either time it or track it.
Is there an action-oriented verb that will help you achieve your goal? Does it pass the common sense test? You must figure out if you have the attitude, resources, ability, skills and capacity to complete and pursue your goal. If you want to buy a new house you can’t just walk up to the door and tell the owner “hey I want your house”. You have to make sure it’s for sale and that you have the funds to buy it first – thankfully, there is a home affordability calculator available online (find more information on it here) to ensure that your dream home really is within budget. Additionally, it often becomes important to take the help of real estate agents who can find an appropriate living space. In that case, it could be beneficial if you know how to choose a real estate agent. But whatever be your action, first say your goal out loud and see if it makes sense. Then say it a few times more and then write it down. The more you think it through the more you will know if it makes sense for YOU or not.
While I love you all and your goals and aspirations, if a goal is not realistic it’s not going to lead you to success. This is not a dream goal, this is a goal you hope to achieve in a short period of time sot that you can be on the path to reach your dream goal. An unrealistic goal? Running a PR in your marathon a day after getting a cast off your leg. Instead set a goal to run X distance Y time after your cast is off in Z time.
If you don’t set a time on when you want to reach said goal then what is the urgency to reach that goal? If you just say “I want to lose weight” well that is not specific but when on earth do you want to lose weight? Tomorrow? Next week? Two years from now? I recommend picking a date within 4 to 6 weeks that way you have the urgency to reach it. Sure, you may need to lessen the extremity of the goal but then you will set a new goal once that one is reached, easy peasy.
E: Evaluate & Re-evaluate
Sometimes we don’t reach our goals, and thats okay. It will say nothing about you or your abilities if you don’t hit every goal you set. That is why we must evaluate and re-evaluate our goals. Heck! Maybe you wanted to be able to get 10 strict pull ups in a row but then you got pregnant! Hello change in priorities! Plan to revaluate your goals at least every 3 months if not monthly. If something is not working for you wouldn’t you want to know sooner rather than later? Do not over evaluate but make sure to check in with yourself and/or have someone else check in to keep yourself accountable.
Normally “SMART” goals stop with the “T” but I wanted you to have your smartest year of goals yet. Sure you can have goals but if you don’t recruit others to support you it will be much harder to reach them. Either tell them your goals or write them down or even better, recruit someone to help you. Find a friend, family member, coach, trainer, etc. to help you. After all, it takes a village. So, recruit those you trust most and get everyone involved. You’d be surprised how many people want help as well, return the favor!
If you don’t believe you can do it, you probably won’t reach your goals or you might reach them by accident. You have to believe in yourself and trust that you can and will achieve the goal if the above criteria have been met. I meet so many individuals who do not believe in themselves. They set SMART goals but they lack the confidence to reach them and they are the only thing standing in their way of success. Look yourself in the mirror daily and tell yourself you CAN do this, and you will.
Now that you know what it takes to set the smartest goals for the new year let’s show some examples of good and not so good goals. Then if you are feeling ambitious leave your goals in the comments and let’s have the best year yet!
I want to lose weight (goal weight = X), so I will go to the gym 3 times per week for 1 hour each time in order to lose 5 pounds by February 28th, 2016.
I want to squat 185 pounds so I will back squat three times per week at weights and reps set by my coach for 1 month and will test my 1 rep max on February 1st, 2016.
I want to get a B in my X class in school by the end of the second semester (May 2016) so I will commit to doing Y hours of homework per day and will go to office hours for Z hours per week.
I want to go to the gym more by March 1st, 2016, so I will have my boyfriend join with me and we will sign up for a class 3 times per week.
Not so smart goals:
I want to lose weight.
I want to squat more.
I will get a B in my X class.
I will go to the gym more.
While this all may seem overwhelming just start by writing what you want to achieve down and see if it makes sense. Then if it’s a very broad goal break it down into even smaller goals. Okay so you want to lose weight, how will you do that? Perhaps you will cut down to 1 soda per week versus 2 per day by the end of the month. Maybe you will go to the gym 2 times per week instead of once in a while when you feel guilty.
I always challenge my clients to really sit and think about what drives and motivates them. Is it your husband/wife? Is it your kids? Is it your career? Is it a higher power? There is no right answer but you need to have something that drives you to want your goals. If I said I wanted to lose weight just “because”, I could find a million reasons to not do so. However, if I said I wanted to lose weight because I want to be there for my grandchildren when I age and I want to travel the world with my husband then it gives my goals life. Find your WHY and use that to drive your goals.
Where to start? I suggest you write 3 solid goals for the New Year and make sure they are specific enough that when someone who doesn’t know you well reads them, they will know exactly what your goals are. Feel free to share below!
Thank you all for being a part of my Sassy journey! I wish you all a very Happy & Healthy New Year!
[…] Another year is coming to an end. Honestly, where did 2018 go?! A bunch of you have been asking my tips and tricks for setting goals, so I figured, why not write it down for everyone to see. I encourage every client to set goals and think that we all could use a refresher on goals and goal setting. […]