Wednesday, March 26, 2014

BE SMART! LEARNING TO SET THE RIGHT TYPE OF GOALS

WHAT IS A SMART GOAL?
Setting goals may seem easy but after spending the past few weeks talking to different women from all over the world, I've discovered that not everyone knows how to set an appropriate goal.  We all have goals in life (at least, I hope we do!).  Whether our goal is to start a family, get a promotion at work, lose weight, or exercise more, there's always something that drives us.  But what if our goals turn out to be unrealistic or perhaps even harmful (like trying to lose too much weight in too little time)?  Let's say you have a high school reunion coming up in two weeks and you decide that you're going to get in shape so you can 'Wow' all of your former classmates.  So, you hit the gym with your newly found dedication and begin your transformation.  Sounds like a great plan, right?  Wrong!  If this were you, I would ask, What does it mean to you to be 'in shape'?  On the day of the reunion, how will you know if you reached your goal?  What exactly are you going to do to reach your goal?  To have a better plan, you need to be SMARTer by setting SMART goals.  Never heard of a SMART goal?  A SMART goal is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.  Okay, let's break it down:




SPECIFIC: What exactly do you want to accomplish?  What are you trying to attain?  If you want to lose weight, you can't just have a goal of 'losing weight'.  You need to be more specific.  How much weight do you want to lose?  If you want to run in a race, which race do you want to run in and how far do you have to run in that particular race?  Being specific with your goals allows you to measure your progress in an objective manner.  Don't set a goal of "losing weight".  Instead, for example, set a specific goal of "losing 10 lbs".  

MEASURABLE: If your goal is to exercise more, how will you know if you reached your goal if "more" isn't defined?  What does "more" mean to you?  Would your goal be reached if you simply added 5 minutes to your existing workout routine?  Your goal must be measurable in order to rate your progress.  Instead of "exercising more", try setting a goal of adding one additional workout session each week.  That way, it can be measured because you either completed that additional workout, or you didn't.  

ATTAINABLE: Back to the high school reunion example, would it be realistic to set a goal of losing 15 lbs in the two weeks leading up to that reunion?  Aside from that being really unhealthy to lose so much weight in such a short period of time, it's completely unrealistic.  If losing weight is your goal, you should strive to lose 1 to 2 lbs per week, no more.  If your goal isn't attainable, you're simply setting yourself up for failure.  

RELEVANT: Are the goals you are setting for yourself pertinent to your interests?  If you are interested in running a 10K race for the the first time, your goals should reflect that by helping you improve your cardiovascular endurance.  You wouldn't set a goal of squatting 45lbs if your goal is to complete a 10K race.  Stick to the plan and choose a goal that aligns with your desires.  

TIME-BOUND: Your goal should have some type of timeline for completing.  What's your deadline?  If your goal is to get your arms "aisle-ready" by your wedding day, then you know that you have a certain amount of time to achieve your goal.  Your goals should also be evaluated regularly to make sure you are on track.  That way, you can adjust them as necessary.  Most of the time, it's best to set smaller attainable goals that will eventually lead to the ultimate goal.  These short-term goals should also be time-bound.  Conquering each little goal will catapult you towards your final goal...which is what you want, so do it.

AN EXAMPLE OF A SMART GOAL
Let's put it all together.  A good example of a SMART goal would be, "I will go to the gym six days per week and complete 20 minutes of cardio and 3 rounds of circuits using weight machines so I can fit into my favorite red dress and wear it to my high school reunion in two weeks."  This goal is SMART because it specifically addresses what you will be doing in the two weeks leading up to your reunion.  It will be measured at the end of the two weeks when you find out if you fit into your favorite red dress.  Going to the gym consistently for two weeks is attainable and it's relevant because you really want to look good at the reunion.  So, when you're looking to make some changes, start out small and start out SMART.  Keeping your goals simple and SMART will allow you to conquer short-term goals that eventually lead to long-term goals.  Goals don't have to be complicated.  They just have to be SMART.  By the way, even if going to the gym regularly seems like climbing Mt. Everest, that's okay.  Go anyway.  It's a start.  It's a SMART start.  

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for this great post! I'm currently studying towards a certificate in Personal Training and have found this very helpful in the understanding and application of SMART goals. Thanks again!

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    1. I'm glad you liked this post Lisa. Best of luck to you in your studies!

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