It’s a new year and a great chance to turn a page and start a new chapter. January is often a great time to reflect on the past, create new goals and build new habits. However, new year's resolutions are easy to make and even harder to keep, so here we are to help you set yourself up for success and stick to your goals in 2021.
Let’s recap SMART goals.
Your goal needs to be written with no fluff. Your goals need to have a clear and definitive end point or otherwise it will be forever elusive. In the fitness world, you often hear "my goal is to lose weight and tone up". Let's use this as an example.
It’s a great goal!, however, is not yet a goal.
It NEEDS to be hammered down to something tangible, something that you know when you have or have not achieved it. How do you hammer this goal down to something specific?
Ask yourself these 6 questions:
- What do I want to achieve?
- Who is involved?
- Why is this goal important to me (and to the other people involved)?
- Where is this going to take place?
- What resources will I need to achieve this goal?
- How will I quantify this goal?
If your goal is written in a way that ticks off all of the above questions, you have a specific goal. Instead of "tone up and lose weight" you need to refine it until it reads something like:
"I want to achieve the body that I desire and deserve. I will have achieved this when I reach X% body fat and X weight on the scales. I will have these numbers by (enter date). These numbers are important to me because my health is currently not where I want it to be and it is a stress of mine. I can take this goal with me anywhere I go before (enter above date) and it will require my willpower to be with me throughout".
This is now a specific goal with a clear end that will bring a sense of achievement when you hit the numbers!
Why do your goals need to be measurable? Simply put, you need to know when you have achieved it. If your goal is not measurable, you will never get the blissful feeling of crossing it off and celebrating.
Although it is very important to know when you have achieved your goal, this is not the only reason that it needs to be measurable. Measurable = motivation! Knowing exactly what your end goal is and how to measure it means you can break it down into smaller steps to track your progress to the final destination. These smaller steps can be vital in ensuring you do not 'fall off the wagon' on your way. This will ensure you are keeping track of and taking the time to celebrate your little wins.
If we look at our example goal:
"I want to achieve the body that I desire and deserve. I will have achieved this when I reach X% body fat and X weight on the scales. I will have these numbers by (enter date). These numbers are important to me because my health is currently not where I want it to be and it is a stress of mine".
Can you spot how this is measurable? It has an end point for this person's body fat percentage, an exact weight on the scales and a date in the calendar. This goal is measurable and best of all, it can be broken down into smaller increments to celebrate little wins along the way!
If you take 1 thing away from this section, let it be that measurable = motivation!
Setting a goal that is out of reach not only sets you up for failure but it can harm you physically, financially, emotionally and mentally.
An achievable goal is a goal that is on the outer limits of your comfort zone. An achievable goal should push you to your limits. It should cause you discomfort but never severe pain or severe stress. Much like stretching out your hamstrings, you want to go to the point of discomfort (where change and growth lives) but never pain. Pain is the maker of diminishing returns for the majority of people.
To ascertain if your goal is achievable requires some honest, objective self-reflection. If you're not up to this it may be an idea to bring in a coach or someone close that you trust to help you design your goal. Upon your self-reflection you need to ask yourself 2 important questions:
- How will I achieve this goal? Much like we spoke about yesterday, breaking your goal down into smaller, bite-sized steps is a road map to success. If you cannot break your goal down then how do you expect to see it out without a plan?
- Based on my current life restraints (ie time, other commitments, money), is this goal realistic? Will this goal fit into my lifestyle? Do my friends support me? Do I have the tools and resources needed to achieve this goal? Do I have someone in my corner who can guide me when it gets hard?
Answering these 2 questions requires you to let go of your ego and honestly assess your current situation.
Honesty is the best policy.
Is your goal relevant?! This is the aspect of goal setting that gets even MORE personal and MORE selfish. Deciding if your goal is relevant will require you to shut off any outside influences, lock away your friends and take a step away from your coach for a minute.
Most of us will require some form of help in either setting goals or in the process of achieving them, however, this step is about being selfish and establishing whether your goal actually matters to YOU.
Do you want this or are you setting it to impress someone else?
Do you want to be "this" person or are you trying to keep up appearances and be something you're not?
If you can not honestly say to yourself that you want this, why even bother? Why put in the effort to something you don't care about?
"If it's not a f&#k yes, it's a no!"
Does your goal give you butterflies?
Does thinking about the finished product motivate you?
Does it seem like a worthwhile use of your time, energy and commitment?
It better tick all these boxes because if it doesn't, the disappointment of failure will still be real.
A simple way to find out whether this goal matters to you is to ask yourself if you would get out of bed at 5am every morning to ensure it was achieved? If your answer is yes, you're on to a winner.
However, if your answer is no, maybe it is time to put your efforts elsewhere and do something that matters to you and the person you want to be.
As I said earlier, honesty is the best policy.
Let's wrap up SMART goals and look at why your goals need to be time-bound and have an end date. Any goal that you set should be time-bound for many different reasons; discipline, planning backwards and most importantly so that you know when to celebrate.
No matter what type of person you are, a deadline is something that is concrete and forces action. Having a deadline will create action and ensure that you’re moving to hit the goal. Without a deadline, it is easy to let common tasks take priority in situations they should not.
“Pressure creates Diamonds”
A deadline also creates a finish line.
Many people choose to not celebrate an achievement. It is easy to move the goalposts when you are so close to the finish line. If you don't let yourself feel a sense of pride and happiness then was it all worth it?
Just remember, we are all human. Hard work and sacrifice is the price you pay to experience the emotions of success! So set a deadline, hit it and let yourself feel the sense of pride that comes with achieving your goal.
What are your goals for 2021?