I love this time of year. The Christmas rush is over and we’re on the cusp of a new year. People seem to have a renewed sense of energy and the feeling that anything is possible. One of the things I do to help me get in the right mindset to take on the new year is to spend some time on goal setting. It’s been proven that setting a goal is absolutely critical to being successful regardless of what aspect of your life you’d like to improve.
I’ve seen firsthand how much having a clear set goal impacts people’s health journey. So, whether it has been a while since you started working out or if you’re just beginning, it’s worth your while to take the time to set your objectives. Short term fitness goals you can achieve quickly will help keep you motivated from day-to-day while longer term goals will help you stay focused on your bigger picture objectives.
As with most things, there is a right way and wrong way to approach goal setting. Studies have shown that people who set SMART goals have greater success. Follow these guidelines to steer your goal setting in the right direction.
Specific: Be very clear and specific about your goal. Many times people will say their goal is to get healthy or to lose weight which are both too general. Instead your goals could be something like lowering your cholesterol to a healthy level or losing inches around your waist. Be sure to WRITE IT DOWN.
Measurable: How will you know whether you’re on track to achieve your goals if they are not measurable? Be sure to establish how you will track and measure your progress at the outset. You can use simple tools like your scale or a measuring tape but there are also online and mobile apps that can help you keep track of your progress in an organized way.
Attainable: Make sure that your goal is realistic. While it’s great to shoot for the stars, don’t set a goal that is so far-fetched that you’re not likely to achieve it. On the flip side, don’t set a goal that is so easy that attaining it requires no effort. Just FYI, if losing weight is your goal, research shows that losing 5-10% of your body weight is achievable for most overweight people.
Relevant: This one seems really obvious to me, but still I see people shooting for goals that other people pressure them to or that don’t feel very personal to them. Set a goal that is important to you and fits in to your life at this time. Why set a goal to run a marathon if you hate running and it brings you no joy?
Time-bound: Every goal needs to have a deadline which will not only motivate you to get started but will also keep you fired up to move forward.
Now that you’ve set your SMART goal, another thing I think is extremely helpful is enlisting some people to help you. Think about your goal and the people in your life who can help keep you on track to achieving it. It makes sense to have a few people you can call on if you hit an obstacle on your way to success.
Want to road test your goals? Consider participating in our Smash Your Goals challenge at Synergy. Every Monday during the month of January:
- Identify a goal to focus on for 7 days.
- Write your goal on a post-it, sign it and put it on the whiteboard at Synergy.
- On the following Monday, if you were successful in achieving your goal, remove the post-it and add it to the fish bowl. Set a new goal for the next 7 days and put it on the board.
- If you did not reach your goal, leave it up for the following week.
- On Wednesday 1/16, 1/23 and 1/30 we’ll draw one name from the fishbowl for that person to win a prize.