Set a Goal and Keep It: Getting SMART About Setting Goals
Most of us struggle with at least one aspect of our lives that we would like to change. For many Fit815 readers, the change we would like to make is to see a smaller number on the scale when we step on it in the morning. But where do we start? And is simply “weigh less” a good goal to have?
Consider a smarter approach to setting goals for yourself. The SMART approach to goal setting outlines effective steps in a convenient mnemonic to take when setting goals.
Give yourself a specific goal. Oftentimes people will give a vague goal that ends up being easily forgotten or allows for equivocating when difficult choices need to be made. Instead of something like “My goal is to lose weight,” make your goal something like, “I want to lose five pounds of body fat by the end of August.”
How can you know whether you’re making progress toward your goal if you can’t measure progress? Weight loss isn’t always the loss of “bad” weight like fat; loss of muscle and water weight does not usually make for a healthier person. Make sure you have the tools to track your progress; checking in on a body composition analyzer that measures body fat, muscle mass, etc. can inform you as to whether you are making the right progress.
Many of us have sabotaged our chances of making lasting change by making our goals too grandiose. Instead of saying you want to lose 50 pounds, set smaller, attainable goals like 3-pound incremental goals.
Make sure you are setting the right goal. While many of us focus on losing weight, it might not be the best goal for us. Setting goals like being able to walk or jog a 5k without stopping can have a greater overall positive impact on our health while still helping knock off some pounds.
If you do not set an end date for your goal, you will not have a sense of urgency to make the changes you need to make to reach your goal. Give yourself a deadline and stick to it. If you reach your goal, set a new one! If you don’t, examine why you did not get there and modify your plans.