5 Steps To Effective Goal Setting

It’s that time of year again. Time for setting goals, making New Year’s Resolutions, creating mantras and looking for a “New You”. Regardless of if you believe in New Year’s Resolutions or not, you have probably set some goals in your life. As a human being it’s absolutely normal to want to better ourselves. We look in the mirror and see things that we want to change.  We look in our bank accounts and take a double take. And if you’re like me, you know there is room in your life to be healthier. It’s time to set a goal and see it through to the end.

Change is good, but how do we go about making those changes. If you sit down and watch TV for even 15 minutes you will see commercials that are about improving our memories, losing weight, saving money and going on your dream vacation. While these are all great aspirations, let’s be honest, most of the goal setting that takes place on January 1st is all but forgotten by Valentine’s Day.

 

So how do we go from “good intentions” to “actual accomplishment”?

The key is to set goals using the following formula.

Be S.M.A.R.T.!

 

Goal Setting should be….

Specific

Measurable

Achievable

Relevant

Time based

 

Let’s start with a simple goal and work it into a goal that you can achieve, because nothing is worse than setting a goal and then failing. Life is hard enough without setting ourselves up for failure.

 

It’s a new year and a great time to set yourself up for success.

 

Example: In 2018 I’m going to be more healthy!

 

This is a great idea, but it is vague and doesn’t have a definition, this ambiguity will leave you floundering and failing in a few weeks.

 

Okay, here we go, time to work this goal into a vision.

Specific: I am going to lose weight in 2018.

 

Now your goal has a specific definition. Your goal is to lose weight, now you have something to work towards.

Measurable: I am going to lose 15 pounds in 2018.

 

The measurable aspect identifies what unit of measurement to use. When it comes to losing weight you can measure pounds, inches or BMI. If you decide to lose weight and measure your weight in pounds, do you have a scale? Get the tools you need to achieve, it’s hard to measure your weight without a scale. Using inches for your unit of measurement?,, then you need to use a tape measurer (the kind you use for sewing).  When measuring around the bust, chest, under the arms (for that pesky back fat), it may be easier to have someone else hold the measuring tape for you.

Achievable: I am going to lose 15 pounds in 2018 by taking 10,000 steps daily and by incorporating 30 minutes of cardio activity at least three times a week.

 

What is attainable for you. Can you actually lose 15 pounds? Do you need to lose 15 pounds? How will you achieve this goal? We must make plans in order to achieve our goals. Think of it this way…Let’s say you decide you want to drive from Los Angeles to New York in 1 day. Your most fundamental problem with this plan is that the distance between these two points is about 2,800 miles. It is physically impossible for you to drive that distance in the amount of time you have given yourself, your goal is NOT achievable!

So look at the goal you have set for yourself, is it achievable, can you do it, if not, make adjustments so that you can be successful.

One needs to have lofty goals, but make sure to keep your goals within reach, remember these goals are YOURS. You can adjust them, nothing is written in stone, flexibility is the name of the game.

Relevant: I am going to lose 15 pounds in 2018 by taking 10,000 steps daily and by incorporating 30 minutes of cardio activity at least three times a week; because I would like to wear a size 10 jeans.

For everything we do, there needs to be a motivation. For instance, we go to work because we want to be able to pay our bills. We wash our clothes because we don’t want to wear clothes that stink. You visit the dentist office because you want the pain in your gums to stop. Actions are driven by motives. If you decide to lose weight because you want to “feel better”, that is great, but you need to be more specific. What does feel better mean?

No more back pain.

The end to your headaches.

Less swelling in your ankles.

Decreasing medication for GI issues.

 

See what I mean? There are a ton of ways to feel better. Nail down WHY you are doing what you are doing, that way you can revisit the motivation whenever you need to. And hey, your motivation could change or even better you may find out that once you have lost 10 pounds you can fit a size 10 jean.

 

Time based: I am going to lose 15 pounds between January 1st and May 31st  by taking 10,000 steps daily and by incorporating 30 minutes of cardio activity at least three times a week; because I would like to wear a size 10 jeans.

 

Instead of taking the entire year to lose 15 pounds, I’ve changed the time to 5 full months. If I don’t meet the goal in 5 months, I still have 7 more months to accomplish the goal. In all honesty if you give yourself too much time to reach a goal, you may fall into the procrastination trap. If you don’t give yourself enough time, you may put too much pressure on yourself. It is counterproductive to stress yourself out in a quest to become healthier. Be realistic with your time constraints, and remember, BE FLEXIBLE. If you are not sure how much time you need, start with an arbitrary number and change it as needed.

 

I know you can do it, nail down a goal and get busy achieving. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, just get started. There is no time like the present!

 

-Courtney

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  1. […] you are wondering how to set achievable goals check out our blog post on goal setting. If you are too tired to even start planning read our post Dear Mama here because you are doing the […]

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