Let’s talk about setting goals…..

Well here we are, 21 days into February as I write this and I just got home from the gym.  I am sad to be honest, really sad to see that the gym numbers have already dropped off significantly.  For the first few weeks of January it’s tough finding a parking spot up front, you may need to walk a little bit further to get into the gym god forbid.  You may not be able to get on your favorite piece of equipment, you may need to wait a minute to use something.

Here’s the thing though, we all started somewhere.  We all had our first days at the gym and yes maybe it wasn’t in January but we all started somewhere.  I absolutely hate the negativity surrounding New Years Resolutions but we’ve already talked about that.  Tonight I want to talk about something different, one of the main reasons that people do not stick to their resolutions or diets…..Setting goals.  This is the most important concept you need to master in order to be successful in ANYTHING.  Not just losing weight or exercising more.

There is a specific system to use when it comes to setting goals and I am going to break it down here for you tonight.  You may have used this before or you may have used another system that worked well for you in the past.  This is not 100% the absolute golden rule for setting goals.  This is a technique that works and if used will work for you.  That being said there could be another system that works for you as well, I invite you to share some other systems in the comments so that readers may give them a try!

Here we go, let’s get into it! The acronym is S.M.A.R.T. and we are going to take a look at each item individually and really break it down.

 

S-Specific- This is the one where most people go wrong right off the bat.  If you make a goal that is too broad you are increasing your chances of dropping out right from the start.  A goal that is too broad would be something like “I want to lose weight” or “I want to look better” or “I want to start running”.  These goals are not specific enough. You are leaving things up in the air and stacking the odds against yourself!  Instead, when creating a specific goal, give yourself more details.  “I want to go to the gym three times per week” or “I want to lose 6 inches off of my waist”.  These goals are much more specific, they are set in stone, black and white, no grey area and you can measure them. This brings us to the next point! (See what I did there, I think I might be getting the hang of this writing thing!)

M-Measurable, or meaningful- As mentioned above, the latter of the two sets of goals are things that are black and white and you can measure them.  If you look at the first set of goals, “I want to lost weight” or the “I want to look better”, you can not accurately measure those.  “But Ian I can get on the scale and it will show that I am losing weight”.  Ah yes my friend you are correct, but how much weight do you want to lose? What happen when you have a plateau? What happens if you only lose 1 pound that week and you want to lose 5 per week?  “I want to look better”.  Again, how do you accurately measure “looking better” to yourself?  With a selfie pic in the mirror? That sounds wildly acceptable for a measurement in progress….HAH! Make goals that you can clearly measure and are meaningful to you.  Don’t waste your time pulling something out of thin air and thinking it’s going to work.

A-Attainable or Achievable– Now this is where things get a little tricky, but please allow me to explain.  You want to make your goal attainable, you don’t want it to be too far out of reach.  You also do not want to sandbag your goal, it should be something that makes you step out of your comfort zone.  For example, saying you are going to loose 5 pounds a week for the next 10 weeks before your wedding.  Not achievable. “But Ian what about extreme weight loss, what about this person who did it?” blah blah blah.  Yes it has been done, however, IF you make it to that goal, yes IF, it will not last.  You WILL relapse and it will not end well.  A healthy goal would be to loose 2-3 pounds per week.  Another example would be, “I want to run a marathon in 15 weeks”, but you haven’t run a mile in 2 years.  Again yes it is possible, anything is possible, however thats a very far reaching goal.  Bottom line is, you need to have self awareness here and know what is going to push you a little but not too much.  Just know you can always adapt your goal!  They are goals, they are not written in stone, if you don’t achieve it, you learn what you are able to do in the set amount of time.

R- Realistic- Realistic and attainable can be interchangeable depending on how you view it.  Realistic can mean that it’s not too far out of reach. For example you want to qualify for World Championships in your first ever crack at a triathlon. This would be an unrealistic goal based on the fact that you have not yet completed a race.  There are situations and circumstance associated with racing that you cannot recreated in training.  You can always do you best to prepare but there is always a chance something can come up on race day.  It can also mean realistic in your resources.  For example if you have a goal to participate in an Ironman but you work 80 hours a week and have 3 kids and a significant other at home, an ironman may not be a realistic goal at this point in your life.  Taking that much time away from your family or job may lead to other things suffering which could lead to dropping the goal.  Be realistic with your resources such as your time, your equipment, your ability or your knowledge.

T-Time based- Last but not least, your goal needs to be time based.  You need to give yourself a time line of when this goal will be completed by.  There isn’t any other way to put it.  You simply can’t say well I want to drop 50 pounds.  Without that time frame, if there is a week where you stay the same there may be a chance of dropping out.  With a time line, you can track and keep yourself accountable.  The time frame ensures you will get it done and it keeps you honest.  Think of when your boss gives you a project at work or you have a project at school.  With a time line you can sit down, break it into small manageable chunks and get it done.  Some times you may even get it done early!  If that happens it’s ok, you get some time to plan your next goal and reconsider either your time frame or how challenging you make your goal.

One last thought to keep you motivated or on track is consider a reverse bet.  If you have a friend or a few friends who are all working on goals, create a reverse bet with them to hold each other accountable.  A reverse bet is simple, you have your goals and your friend has theirs.  You set the time line and then you set the consequences if you do not achieve said goal.  The consequences should be something that would absolutely make you cringe.  This is a great way to hold each other accountable, get friends and family involved and stay on track.

If you set a goal for New Years and you have dropped off, DON’T wait until next year to make a S.M.A.R.T. goal.  Make your S.M.A.R.T. goal tomorrow.  The best time to start was yesterday and the second best time to start is now.

If you have a technique for setting goals that has been successful for you please share it below in the comments section! If you need any further help or just want to bounce some ideas off of someone please use my social links below and hit me up in the DM’s.  I really love hearing from you guys!

 

All for now.

Keep FSU and Do It For Yourself

 

I don’t post on here daily but feel free to find me else where!

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