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Posted by on Mar 9, 2015 in Positive Steps | Comments Off on SMART Goals

Spring makes me think of cleansing, renewal, and an “out with the old and in with the new” type of attitude.And spring may just be the perfect time to work on something you’ve been waiting to embark on.

Achieving something you’ve been putting off can do wonders for your self-esteem (and, conversely, procrastination tends to have the opposite effect!). So achieving a goal isn’t going to be just about doing something you want to do…it’ll also give your self-esteem the kind of boost that has lasting effects even when you’re not focused on the goal itself!

Maybe your goal is getting ready for a 5k, making time to meditate in the morning, being more generally positive, or maybe spending more time with loved ones. Whatever it is, if you’ve been putting it off, now is the time to “spring” into action!

When making goals, I recommend making sure they’re “SMART.” You’re may be thinking, well, yeah, of course my goal is smart, why would my goals be dumb!? This type of SMART is different though. SMART is an acronym and stands for:

Specific- Is my goal clearly stated?
Measureable- How will I know when and if I reach my goal?
Attainable- Is it within my ability to accomplish my goal?
Relevant- Is your goal relevant to your other roles and responsibilities in life?
Time tested- What is the deadline you’re setting to accomplish my goal?

So maybe you start with this as your overall goal: Lose weight and get in shape. Okay. Not bad, but it sounds pretty vague.

Let’s start running this through the individual letters of your SMART acronym by asking questions one at a time:

Is it Specific?
How could you make “Lose weight and get in shape” more specific? To do that, we need to think about observable behaviors. What does “lose weight and get in shape” look like? If you could see a video recording of your day, which behaviors would you see that contribute to losing weight, and which do not? Observable behaviors are important, because those are the ones you can act on. So to get Specific, you might describe the following observable behaviors…

  • leave work by 5:00 pm at least three days a week
  • sign in at the gym three days per week
  • spend 35 minutes doing the workout of your choice 3 times a week (lifting weights, elliptical, etc.)
  • drink ½ gallon of water per day, 7 days per week

It’s probably not possible to list too many observable behaviors, so go crazy. Be specific.

Is it Measureable?
How could you make “Lose weight and get in shape” measureable? Chances are, if you’ve developed a specific goal, you’ve already started to define the Measurability test. What are the measures you will use to evaluate both your progress and your success with this goal?

  •  For example with the elliptical, time spent on the machine can be measured. The number of times per week you visit the gym will be another measure.
  • The amount of water you drink per day yet another measure.
  • The amount of weight you want to lose is also measureable.
  • As you think about measuring, also be thinking about how you will record and track your progress. It’s important that you make it as easy and convenient as possible for yourself to take and record your measures! Measuring is hugely important and will keep your focus on the behaviors you need to be doing in order to experience success!

Is it Attainable?
How realistic is for you to achieve your goal? Some factors to consider in this case may be:

  •  Will it be possible to get to the gym 3 times a week with your busy schedule?
  • How motivated are you to accomplish this on a scale of 1-10?
  • Are there things that could derail you? Finances? Schedule changes? How can you proactively address those possibilities even before they happen?
  • Do you have the support of your friends/family/co-workers to achieve this goal?

It is Relevant?
What are some of the reasons you want to lose weight and get in shape? It’s important to consider what role achieving your goal will play in your everyday life. Knowing this should increase your motivation and whether or not or you “put in the work” to achieve your goal.

  • How will achieving this goal benefit you in your work?
  • In your personal life?

Is it Time Tested?
How long will you give yourself to achieve your goal? Are there benchmarks along the way that you can celebrate and recognize as important milestones on the way to your larger goal? It is helpful to have a time frame in mind when working towards your goal, and it is important to consider whether this time frame is realistic or not. For this goal, you may want to consider that the healthy amount of weight to lose is 1-2 lbs a week. Therefore, it would not be realistic or healthy to set a time frame of one month to lose 15 lbs. A more realistic timeframe for losing weight may be losing 5 lbs. in a month.

What amount of time are you giving yourself to achieveyour goal?

  • What are key target dates you should recognize as milestones on the path to your goal?
  • What will you do if you need more time to work on your goal?

Good luck and have fun setting and achieving your goals! Your self-esteem will thank you for it!