It’s easy to set a goal to “eat better” or “exercise more”, but to actually accomplish that goal is much more difficult…especially when you set vague goals like these. Focusing on general long-term goals can be overwhelming and begs the question, “where do I even start?”
The key to achieving long-term goals, is to set small shorter term goals using the SMART method. What does SMART stand for?
Specific- Be as specific as possible by stating exactly what you plan to do. Think about the what, when, and where of your goal. For example, rather than saying “I’m going to eat less”, set a focused goal such as “I’m going to fill half of my plate with vegetables at dinner daily.”
Measurable- Establish a way of measuring progress towards a goal. When setting a goal, ask the questions “how much or how many? How often? How will I know when I’ve achieved that goal?” For example- “I’m going to exercise for 30 minutes 3 days this week”- pretty cut and dry, right?
Attainable- Make sure the goal is not out of reach. Ask yourself, “is this reasonable enough to achieve?”
Relevant- Be sure your short term goals are worthwhile. Ask this question- “will making this change get me closer to my long term goal?”
Time bound- Include a time limit. This will allow you to measure progress at certain points along the way and help you to adjust accordingly. A time limit will also likely give you a sense of urgency and prompt you to take action.
Tips for setting, following through, and ACHIEVING your goals:
- Use the SMART method, of course!
- Write it down…where you see it…OFTEN!
- Write down WHY your goals are important to you (beyond just “to look good and fit in my skinny jeans”). Think of the reasons you want to feel good, live a longer, and healthier life. Keep it near and dear to you, as a reminder…. OFTEN!
- Set just 1-3 small goals at a time to work on. Focus on these until they become habit and part of your lifestyle.
- Map out even the small goals… schedule exercise in a weekly planner, write down what you plan to eat for meals or snacks for the day, or come up with strategies you will implement to change/replace a habit.
Take action… Comment below and share a SMART goal you plan to work on this week!