If you have ever taken a leadership class or training at work, you've heard the term "S.M.A.R.T. goals." It's all about setting goals that make sense. You can have great intentions, but they will never become your reality if you don't set up specific actions that will get you to your goal. You won't ever reach the top of Mud Mountain if you don't make your goals realistic. You will struggle in meeting goals if you don't attach a timeline, or measurement to them.
Many times people set goals that are too lofty, and believe it or not, I've been guilty of this too!
After I reached my 100 pounds lost on August 31, 2011, I was a little bit lost. I still obviously had about 20-30 pounds to lose...but I had not set many goals if any that were SMART past my 100 pound mark. I think part of me never believed I would actually arrive there.
That said, I am going to make sure my goals don't fall by the wayside this year. Here is a breakdown of my goals again, along with the detail below of how I am making them "S.M.A.R.T."
|Goals - 2012|
|Weight (starting weight 192.6 after holidays)||Measure||Deadline|
|185 pounds - 100 pounds lost (recoup after holidays)||Scale||1/31/2012|
|180 pounds - wedding weight (105 pounds lost)||Scale||2/28/2012|
|175 pounds - high school grad weight (110 pounds lost)||Scale||3/31/2012|
|170 pounds - less than my hubby (115 pounds lost)||Scale||4/30/2012|
|165 pounds - GOAL weight (120 pounds lost)||Scale||5/31/2012|
|Body Fat % less than 25||24.9/Body Bugg||3/31/2012|
|Track food consistently||Food Log||Ongoing|
|Exercise (or do something active) 6 days/week||Body Bugg||Ongoing|
|Improve 5k time to less than 30 mins||29:59 or less||6/30/2012|
|Improve 10k time by 5 minutes (to 1:06 or less)||1 hr 6 min or less||9/30/2012|
|Train for a half marathon||Begin Training||6/30/2012|
Let's break down S.M.A.R.T.:
S stands for Specific: Goals must be very specific. "I want to lose weight this year" or "I want to finally get healthy" are not good goals to set. If you notice, my weight loss goals are pretty specific. I've broken it down to 5 pound increments. Obviously, my overall goal is to lose 25 more pounds...but since 25 sounds so BIG to me, and not very specific, I'm breaking the goal up into more manageable 5 pound chunks. I'll lose a bag of sugar a month. :) Now with my running goals, you don't see a goal saying "get faster." Duh. Every runner wants to get faster. I want to reach very specific speed goals this year and with this to shoot for, I have a good focus and aim for myself athletically.
M stands for Measurable: Goals have to have a measure. Even if I had my 5 pound chunk goals set like above, if I didn't have a way to measure it, it would be useless. Now, its easiest to measure weight, all you need is a scale. It's also pretty easy to measure getting faster in racing; the clock says it all. It will be easy to check off a box each week that I've exercised for 6 days and tracked my food on my Body Bugg program. The good part is these goals all correlate. If I exercise 6 days a week, track my food and stay within my range, and continue to run, I will meet my other goals. Some goals feed into other goals. The measure is very important.
A stands for Action Oriented, or Actionable: There HAS to be some kind of action attached to your goal. If I said I was going to lose the weight and it just magically happen, there would be no need for fitness bloggers. Instead, something has to be DONE in order to reach the goals. In my case, some of my other goals are the actions that will achieve the weight loss goals. Tracking my food consistently and exercising 6 days/week are solid actions that will help me reach my weight loss goals. Good nutrition and consistent training will also help me reach my running goals. The actions are: eat well and clean, track my food, and exercise 6 days a week. That's alot of action. The point of this part of the acronym is that action leads to achievement.
R stands for Realistic: Goals have to be realistic! This point is vital. If you ignore everything else in this post, remember this: setting goals that are impossible or too hard is setting yourself up to fail. REAListic. Because you are a REAL person. With REAL life situations coming at you. If this healthy lifestyle is really going to be a lasting lifestyle, then you need to plan reasonably and realistically. It feels way better when you can actually celebrate a goal achieved rather than rushing yourself, failing, and gaining more weight when you drown your sorrows in brownies and ice cream (been there...).
T stands for Time-Bound or Timely: Be sure your goals have a deadline set to them. If you just loftily say you'll lose weight this year, you may not decide to "get serious" until its too late in the year to achieve what you wanted. If you procrastinate like me, you will get your year long goals in order in time for the holidays...bad timing. So set some realistic time frames for yourself, but set something. And remember, your timing might be different than others' timing. Maybe you will lose weight faster or slower than me. This is YOUR journey and YOUR time. Dust off your calendar and get to planning. I've found it way easier to break the amounts up into monthly, last of the month weigh ins. Just simpler to keep track of. Figure out what will work for you.
By all means, your goals don't have to be specifically weight related. Set a goal to fit into a certain pair of pants, or a smaller sized shirt. This can be tougher, as you may go down one size every 15-20 pounds (like me) or it might be even less. So this one can't necessarily be a bonafide SMART goal, but it should be part of your total experience, or benefit of your successful results.
I read somewhere that you losing weight is not a goal, it is a result. That definitely has some truth in it. If you make goals that center around HOW you will get to your weight loss goal, you WILL lose weight if you follow those steps. At first, I wasn't ready to set specific goals. I just wanted to make small changes and kind of ease into this healthy lifestyle. That worked for me. As time went on, it became clear that I really needed more set goals in order to push through the finish. That's totally up to you.
As for me, I'm super excited about my goals; and I hope you have learned something about setting yours. I'm going to bed, with all my food tracked and an early morning run planned. I saw a post on Facebook about someone who was sluggish and unmotivated with this winter weather...she challenged others to join her in a 7 day running streak. Ramping down mileage to reduce risk of injury (rest days are vitally important) but getting out there every day. I'm going to do it! So excited about it. I'm also trying out a few Zumba classes with some co-workers next week in Dothan near my work. I'm looking forward to that as well and know that the running tied in with that will wear my tater out; but will also burn some much needed holiday fat off of my body.
So what say you? Ready to be a SMART-y pants like me?
You can do it!