New Years is right around the corner, and it’s the season of feasting holidays and comfort food. For our fitness goals, these are tough times. But, they don’t have to be. There are little things we can do to make goal accomplishment easier than ever.
So often we think about goals, and then time gets away from us, or we forget why we set them and we let them slip. The reason this happens is because we set goals at the surface level. “I want to lose weight.” “I want to be healthier.” These are great starting points, but they offer us no insight into why or how we can make these goals work for us. The most effective strategy I’ve seen for people accomplishing real goals is by setting SMART goals.
The SMART System (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timebound) is a great way for us to dig in to any goal we have for ourselves and understand the outcomes of what we want and the route we need to take to get there. Because it’s Thanksgiving, let me give you a relevant example on how this works.
For some unfortunate reason, it is my responsibility to bring homemade pie to my families’ Thanksgiving dinner. I have no knowledge, ability, or experience in baking pies, but I need to figure it out. A goal I can accomplish.
Current Goal: Bake a pie
This is a great starting point. I can see what I want to do, but if I put no further thought into the goal, it is very likely I show up to Thanksgiving pieless because I have no plan or idea of how to get there.
Step 1: Specific
what kind of pie do I want to make? Obviously the game plan and equipment I need between making a chicken pot pie versus a cherry pie versus a pecan pie vary drastically.
Current Goal: Bake a Cherry Pie
Step 2: Measureable
How many pies do I need? Is one small pie enough? It is Thanksgiving after all.
Current Goal: Bake 12 Cherry Pies
Step 3: Attainable
Ok maybe, just maybe, 12 pies is a little unrealistic given my current complete lack of pie making knowledge. But, I know I can find a recipe and buy ingredients for 2 pies. One to try out and one to improve on. This is very attainable.
Current Goal: Bake 2 Cherry Pies
Step 4: Relevent
– Will achieving this goal of baking two pies for my family effect my life? Yes. My family will get to enjoy these pies and we will all have that much more joy this holiday because of it. This is a very relevant goal and this allows me to really understand why this goal is important to me.
Current Goal: Bake 2 Cherry Pies For My Family To Enjoy
Step 5: Timebound
When do I want to bake this pie by? Thanksgiving. It doesn’t do me much good to have pies the week after Thanksgiving. All of what I outlined above must happen before Thursday or I need to reassess my goal.
Current Goal: Bake 2 Cherry Pies For My Family To Enjoy by Thanksgiving
So Following the SMART method we took our abstract goal of baking a pie to baking 2 cherry pies for my family by thanksgiving. The outcome I was aiming for shifted as I walked through the process, but we got to the root of why this goal is important, and we recognized the resources we would need to get to our goals. By going through this process and thinking through my goal, I know the next steps I need to make to accomplishing it and I’m much more likely to achieve this goal and show up with a (great?) homemade pie on Thanksgiving for my family (to enjoy?)
We need to treat our fitness goals the same way.
It’s not enough to say “I need to lose weight.” It’s not enough to say “I need to eat better.” We need SMART goals to visualize exactly what we want and how to get there.
The more detailed we can get with our goals. The more we can dig in to exactly what we want and why we want it, the more likely we are to follow through and crush those goals.
If you want to try this formula out with your own goals, I’ve developed a worksheet that can walk you through this process. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Goals”, and I’ll get it right over to you.
If you found this helpful, please share it with someone you think might find it helpful as well.
Good luck with the goals, and I’ll see you in the gym,