January is the time of year when we set resolutions. The phrase “new year, new me” is a common mantra. It’s great to set new expectations for yourself; whether it is to commit to a new hobby, cooking healthier meals, spending more time with your kids, or deciding to lose weight. When it comes to making a New Year’s Resolution, broad or general statements may not be enough. How often do we find ourselves falling off track by February 1st?? One way to help you stick to your resolutions is by writing out your goals. Creating SMART goals is an effective method to create a plan of attack. Read on for step-by-step instructions to turn your resolutions into SMART goals!
Specific is the What, Why, and How of the S.M.A.R.T. model. Goals should be written out clearly and simplistically to emphasize these points.
Basic Example: “I want to lose weight”
SMART: “I want to lose 10 lbs. by February 15, 2016 by exercising at Peak 3 days per week for 1 hour and logging my food in my nutrition journal daily.”
Goals should be measurable so there is hard evidence that you have accomplished the goal. Using the SMART goal above for this example, the goal can be measured by February 15th. The essential measurement is whether or not this client loses the 10 lbs. by February 15th.
Goals should be achievable; they should push you a bit so you feel challenged, but well-defined enough so that you can attain them.
Using the example from above, this client wants to lose 10 lbs. in about a 6 week time frame. After speaking with your Exercise Physiologist, you have learned that healthy weight loss is 1-2 lbs. per week. Committing to exercising and utilizing a food journal are the “How” of the SMART model.
If you plan your steps wisely and establish a reasonable timeframe, you should be able to carry out those steps. On the other hand, if a goal is impossible to achieve (i.e. the client wants to lose 30 lbs. in the same time frame), you may not try to accomplish it.
Ask yourself if the goal is realistic. In reference to the client and their weight loss goals, we have discussed how the goal itself is realistic within the specified time frame.
Another consideration might be if the goal is realistic for this client. Have they spoken with their doctor? Are they committed to exercising at least 3 days per week? Do they carry their food journal to work or school?
When are you going to achieve this goal? What can you do in the next six weeks? What are you going to do today? Today you can commit to exercising and tracking your nutrition.
Short terms goals are the building blocks of our long-term goal. If the client’s ultimate goal is to lose 30 lbs., the long term goal should then be set in an attainable time frame, for example a 16 week period. Along the way, setting smaller goals will set you up for success!
By Louise Mills-Strasser