Happy 2015 everyone!
I hope that your holidays were magical and you've hit the ground running this new year. If you're in the estimated 40% of Americans who have made resolutions to better your fitness, health, finances, relationships or daily life, you went into them with the best of intentions and with a solid determination. But you know how many people of those 40% actually achieve their resolutions? About 8% according to Forbes magazine. It's normal for resolutions to derail and fall through but take heart because that doesn't mean you're a failure! Whether or not we achieve our goals has almost everything to do with how we set them.
See if you can tell the difference between these two goals:
1. Lose weight and look great in a bikini
2. Lose 1-2 pounds a week in order to be down (approx.) 20 pounds for my vacation in late June
The second goal was set up more like a S.M.A.R.T. goal. SMART goal planning is a better, more thorough way to set goals for yourself. S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for:
Specific--Is it a focused and defined goal? "Complete a 5k run on May 12th" is more defined and specific than "Become a runner." When your goal is focused, you are more likely to be focused on it. It helps zero you in on what you're looking to achieve.
Measurable--If you don't have a goal that can be measured somehow, you really won't know your progress will you? Losing a pound a week has a number--both in weight lost as well as a measurable time frame (one week). Keeping a daily or weekly log for your goal can help give you the "numbers" feedback that will help you accountable and motivated to reach your goal.
Attainable--It is very common for people to set goals that are a little too grand and out of reach. This is not to say you shouldn't "think big" but rather to help you break your big goal down into something manageable. You wouldn't expect to wake up to have your waist be whittled down 10 inches overnight would you? Of course not! But you can absolutely work towards that goal if that is what you want. Baby steps!
Relevant--This one is similar to "attainable" in that it checks that your goals are "results driven" and make sense in the climate of the kind of goals you are making. For example, in our earlier goal of "looking good in a bikini," a relevant goal would be one that would perhaps emphasize strength training to define ("tone") muscle, boost metabolism and add sexy shape for your swimsuit. The goal should be worthwhile.
Time-Bound--If you don't have a time frame for something, you're more likely to procrastinate or take your time with doing it. This is the part where you can make a focused, time-sensitive road map to your goal. What can you do in 6 months? 6 weeks? 6 days? For me, I made a goal of becoming a runner and running my first half-marathon by the end of February 2015. I made this goal in June of 2014 and went from not running at all to now being a long (in my mind at least) distance runner with my sights firmly on a half marathon in February. The goal is time-bound. I have a certain amount of time and a clear deadline (I have a plane to catch and everything for it!) while along the way I have been able to track my progress week by week with how many miles I have been able to run in that time as well as monitoring changes in my pace.
If you're wanting to make some S.M.A.R.T. goals for yourself, put it in writing! This
simple and straightforward worksheet can help you visualize your goals and make them achievable! Fill it out and place it where you will see it every single day! Be one of the 8%!
One of the many trainers and voices in my field is a man named Marc Perry who owns a business in New York City called Built Lean. He writes and shares a lot of great articles on different fitness and health topics and this one that I received recently was perfect for the theme of this month's newsletter: Making performance based goals that are attainable.
Check out a new way of making your fitness goals this year and use the S.M.A.R.T. goal method to make your road map. Keep in mind that while a few of these performance goals might not be for you personally, they can help inspire you to think of some that are!
Take a look!