2015 is right around the corner…
Are you one to set new goals for the new year? Do you make resolutions? Any new committments on the horizon? Most people will be thinking about how they want to improve upon things in the new year and some will even set a course to get better. To support you in the process of goal setting I encourage you to get S.M.A.R.T.
S – Specific
M – Meaningful
A – Action Oriented
R – Realistic
T – Timely
SPECIFIC: What do you want? You have to know exactly what you want because this specific goal will determine the level of your success. Your goals should be straightforward and emphasize what you want to happen. Avoid general goals such as, “I want to get into shape” or “I want to lose weight”. Instead, clearly define what you want. For example, “I get winded very easily so I want to improve my cardiovascular system” or “I want to lose 4 pounds in 4 weeks.”
MEANINGFUL: Why is it important to make this change now? The reason to change (MOTIVATOR) must be strong enough to carry you through the change process. Keep asking yourself “Why is this important to me?” until you find a meaningful answer. For example, “I want to make changes in my lifestyle so that I have energy at the end of the day for my children.”
Write down your MOTIVATOR and keep it close by to remind you of the true reason behind your goal. This will help when life gets in the way and/or things get tough.
ACTION ORIENTED: What actions will you DO to make your goal become a reality? Your goal remains a dream until you put a plan of action in place. Write down three things you WILL DO to help you on your journey. For example:
- Walk around my building for 30 minutes on my lunch hour everyday.
- Eat a lunch that I have packed that is full of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Be in bed by 10:30pm to ensure I get a minimum of 7 hours sleep a night.
Re-evaluate your action plan every four to six weeks to ensure you are staying on task and making changes as needed. Add new actions when you are ready.
REALISTIC: Am I willing and able to do the work that it will take to reach my goal? To be realistic the goal must be “do-able” for your current state/situation. The skills needed to do the work are ready and available. The actions you set toward reaching your goals should challenge you, but not break you. Even the best of plans will have obstacles. When something does not go according to plan, what will you do instead? Having a plan B in place helps to make your goal more realistic. For example, “If the weather is rough I will walk on the treadmill at the gym instead”.
TIMELY: When will you start? Set a time frame around the actions. If you don’t set a time, the commitment is too vague and too open for excuses. For example, “I will be in bed no later then 10:30pm starting Sunday night”.
How will you know that you have achieved success? What will it look and feel like? Throughout the process of reaching your goals you will be making and breaking habits. Changing your lifestyle and becoming the person you have always wanted to be. Take the time to VISUALIZE that person and the life he/she is living.
Jump ahead to December 2015 you did it! The WORK, TIME and ENERGY that you put towards this dream did not come easily. However, by using the SMART goal model you remained on task. You were reminded why you started the process in the first place, you were challenged in new and exciting ways, and you were sure to have a plan B ready.
One final thought and question…Take a few moments to look over all the obstacles that you have conquered to get here. You set goals and have realized your dream. Now, how will you celebrate this success?
Yours In Health and Fitness,