Ah yes, 2 more days until the Times Square Ball drops and people throw confetti, enjoy champagne, and share their resolutions to start a juice cleanse, join a gym, lose weight, get organized, start a new hobby, or read more books. Instead starting strong with willpower and good intentions before petering out by mid-January, consider the importance of intelligent goal-setting and having a supportive accountability coach. These two factors will bring more success than operating on willpower alone.
Whether as a personal or professional goal, to make it S.M.A.R.T., the goal needs to run through the following criteria:
Specific – gain clarity about what you want to achieve. Is it a certain number in your bank account? A percentage of body fat to attain? Employ the 5 W’s and H questions (who, what, when, where, why, and how) as you answer.
Measurable – with this step you are identifying milestones on the way to your goal and it may require concrete evidence. How will you know you’ve reached your objective? ‘Being happier’ isn’t evidence, smoking cessation is. Describe the physical manifestations of how you know you’re fitter (measurements, weight, ability to lift more) or when your closet qualifies as clean (all clothes on their hangers, shoes displayed on rack, etc). This helps you refine your goal and makes it more attainable.
Achievable – with the amount of time, money, or talent involved, is your goal attainable? Investigate and evaluate the effort of painting your entire upstairs versus hiring a professional, which may save you time and frustration. It may be a goal to make your own household and beauty products but when you weigh the effort, time, and other costs of this goal against the profits, obligations, and other priorities in life, it may be the case that buying healthier, local products is more do-able.
The key here is to truly evaluate your goal to see if it is achievable. Otherwise the risk of spending time, effort, and energy on a frustrating a project that doesn’t fit your priorities certainly feels like a failure.
Realistic/Relevant – if your goal is to cook gourmet meals for your family but you have never advanced past scrambled eggs, is this realistic?
Is it relevant to you and your life to be a famous marathon runner? A world-traveling business owner and parent of 3 children? Are your goals actually others’ goals for you? This is the opportunity for you to decide what fits into your life’s desires. Ask yourself what the true objective is underlying your goal.
Timely – make tentative deadlines for all you plan to accomplish. Keep them flexible and realistic so that you feel inspired to take action and not like you’re burning out.
Examples of transformed S.M.A.R.T. goals:
The vague goal “I will be more organized this year” becomes “I will set up daily routines and have a check-list of what needs to be done”
“I want to be a millionaire” becomes “I want to make $10,000 per month over the next 8 years by creating a software product and keeping a pulse on my investments”
“I want to lose weight” becomes “I want to lose 1-2 lbs a week through dietary changes and increasing my exercise to 3x per week”
The second part is up to you. There is a disconnect between a desire for a healthy lifestyle and actual behavior. Very few of us are the ‘upholder’ type Gretchen Rubin writes about – those who decide to do something and then follow through longer than a few weeks. Most of us are the ‘obliger’ type – we like to know there is accountability to someone other than ourselves. Having an appointment with a personal trainer gets us to the gym. Knowing yourself and your type is key for success. The ‘obliger’ type can gain tremendous benefit from having a nutrition and wellness coach as a guide through these processes.
Ready to reach your S.M.A.R.T. health goals?
Our Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist and Certified Health Coach will support you in setting up SMART goals and achieving your objectives. This means training, guiding, overcoming obstacles and keeping you accountable on the path to higher level of wellness. Contact us for more information and to make an appointment.