Setting Goals – Why and How? Let’s play it S.M.A.R.T.
There are times we feel the need to see a change, an improvement to our lives. Whether this concerns our relationships, our work, our bodies or our minds. Setting goals can provide motivation, steer us in the right direction and keep us focussed.
The S.M.A.R.T system is a goal setting method adopted by many and it stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. It’s easier to succeed when you have clearly defined objectives that are based in reality.
If, perhaps, our goal relates to the fitness level of our body, simply saying “I want to be fitter” is too broad and is a longer-term outcome-oriented goal. While it’s great to have an endgame in mind, chances of success are vastly improved if we narrow down and have a process-oriented objective. An example of a specific goal would be ‘lose excess weight’. As we progress further down the S.M.A.R.T system, we continue to narrow down, but it’s important to begin with a base line.
Add a measurable unit here, say ‘lose 7kg’ or ‘go to the gym 3 times a week’. This adds definition and we can track and quantify our progress.
Our goals can step us outside of our normal comfort zone for sure but should still be realistic. Consistency is key, therefore be ambitious but be practical. Weight loss and fitness goals in particular need to be reasonable enough to not cause us frustration or injury. In this example, if we are carrying excess weight, our bodies can safely sustain a 5–10% loss of our total body weight so here we can say “I will lose 7 kgs over 10 weeks and broken down even further to “I will lose around 700 grams a week for 10 weeks”.
We need to set goals that are important to where we are in our lives right now. Finding our “why” can be easier said than done but if we create a goal with some type of powerful motivation attached, the likelihood of success soars. The relevance of our goals to us personally is super important, should not be due to pressure from anyone else and should contribute to our broader goals. The example here may be wanting to feel more confident at an upcoming event and in time become a fit, energetic and stronger person.
This ties in with the Achievable part of the S.M.A.R.T system and gives us a time target, a deadline. The sense of urgency adds a level of excitement which can keep our motivation up where it needs to be. As our time target approaches, we can see how well we’ve tracked and make any adjustments required. It’s important for us to remember to allow for setbacks and devise strategies to get back on course ASAP.
Author: Angelique Sarris