Happy New Year!
We made it through 2017. Highs and lows are only natural during such a long ride, but did you manage to stay on track for your goals despite setbacks? Most of us say no, and we kick ourselves about it. How about we set up a year where we are guaranteed to say “Yes, I achieved all of my 2018 goals” next New Year’s? Deal? Here’s how:
Smart Goal Setting
Who has heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals before? Most of us have likely been exposed to this in school at some point. We don’t often apply these guidelines to make our New Year’s resolutions, however. Our first tip on how to make successful resolutions is to utilize this system as a framework for generating your goals.
S is for Specific.
Your goal needs to be as defined as you can make it. ‘Lose weight’ might seem like a reasonable goal, but what amount or pant size would make you happy? Are you looking to shed 5lbs and do up your pants a little easier? Or do you need to lose a more significant amount because your doctor informed you that you are pre-diabetic?
If we were to ask you what your goal is, you should be so specific about it that we don’t have any follow-up questions. “I want to lower my body fat by 3% by the end of the year because I value my ability to climb stairs without being winded and my daughter wants to take me hiking in the mountains in September.” That’s pretty specific!
M is for Measurable.
This draws so naturally from specific that you’d think it’s nearly the same. Measurable means just that: you need to have a quantifiable way to track your goal. “I want to feel better” doesn’t cut it; what do you want to feel better about? Why?
How will you know when you do feel better?
Mindfulness is another M we’d like to toss into the mix. You can use mindfulness to help you measure your goals on an emotional and mental level. It can also help you achieve your goals because it makes you more aware of your choices and actions.
Being mindful while you eat, for example, will help you feel satiated sooner (and therefore avoid overeating). You can also be more present in your workout and see better results from your efforts.
A is for Attainable.
This is the crux of smart goal setting: the goal you choose needs to be doable! So reconsider that 40lbs weight loss in two months idea. That’s neither healthy nor realistic.
To guarantee your success, you need to make goals that are physiologically possible and fit into your lifestyle. While you can alter aspects of your lifestyle, how realistic is it to change every aspect of your day to achieve permanent success with your resolutions? Not very.
Our alternate A is Actionable. You’ve got to be able to act on your goal, daily. If you’ve set your sights on something a little too ambitious, scale it back. If you don’t keep at it consistently, you will fail. You’ll become discouraged and stop making progress towards your end goal.
R is for Relevant.
Does the goal make sense for your life? Following off attainable, keep the goal relevant to your life. What is your lifestyle and does the goal make sense for it?
Most of us, for example, aren’t professional athletes. So do you need to work out like one? Eat like one? Devote all your spare time to fitness and recovery? Probably not, especially if you’re starting from square one and have a very sedentary lifestyle.
But let’s say you’re planning on having kids. You need to be able to get up and down easily and often, carry heavy loads for extended periods, and improve your food-making game.
All these skills can be turned into goals easily, and there are simple mile markers you can use to track success.
T is for Timely.
And, of course, your goal needs to be achievable within a specific time frame. As before, we mentioned 40lbs in two months isn’t doable in a healthy way. But 40lbs in a year certainly is. Plus you can break that down further to less than 4lbs per month (does that suddenly sound a lot more achievable?).
Take a look at your year. Do you have trips planned? Any major events? Plan it out. Once you’ve done that, you can look at how your goal fits in.
Let’s say you want to be a better runner. Awesome, we’re with you. There’s a race in September you can join in that’s casual and fun, so now you can plan out your goal! You’ve got eight months, realistically, to get there. So you can sign up for a local learn-to-run clinic or make yourself go out and do intervals, increasing the length you run by 1.5km each month until race month.
You can break down any goal you have! You just need to look at it in a S.M.A.R.T. way.
We are here to help you achieve your goals. If you have any questions on how, please comment below or send us an email. We can guide you to the right resources or people to help you achieve permanent success.
HAPPY NEW YEAR, DIY Nation!
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