Let’s talk about how to create goals in a way that will help you to actually reach them. We have an acronym for this – SMART. There is a method of actually setting the goals that will help you make better progress.
The problem with setting a goal is that there is no way to actually know once you've reached the goal. So how do you weigh that against your starting point and where you end up? By breaking it down and making sure that your goals are SMART, that will help you see how your goal setting has worked out for you and how you are making progress. After all, if you're not able to look back and see the progress that you've made, then there’s no point of continuing on the path that you're on. Now, let’s break down the word SMART.
Specific: First and foremost, every single goal that you set for yourself needs to be specific. The more specific a goal, the better.
Measurable: Your goal has to have a measure to it. Some people say,“I want to lose weight,” or “I want to tone up,” or “I want to get more muscle.” The problem with setting goals like that is how will you ever know once you've reached it?
How much weight do you want to lose? How will you know when you feel like, you are more toned? How will you know when you have more muscle mass?
We have to put specific measures on these things, like the number of pounds, maybe the percentage of body fat, or whatever it may be. We've got to have a measure to it.
Attainable: Is it actually doable? Is it something that you know can be done? This is where you want to be realistic and really shoot for the stars, but at the same time make sure that you’re not setting yourself up for failure. For example, trying to lose ten pounds in a week, that is a very lofty goal. It’s something that's really hard to attain. That's why the standard, healthy guidelines are one to two pounds in a week. So... is your goal attainable? Make sure you ask yourself that when you're setting your goals.
Relevant: Is this goal really relevant to your life? There are goals that you have to kind of let go because they're not really relevant to where you're going in your life right now, that aren't really as important. You can pick them back up later, but for now, they don't fit.
Time-bound: You have to put a time on it, whether that's a week, a month, six months, a year; you need to put a time on it. That's probably one of the scariest things for you to do because you don't want to set yourselves up for failure, right? You should put a time frame on the length of time that you're shooting for a specific goal. This is very important.
Let’s go back to the example of weight loss. So number one, you’ve got to figure out how much weight you’ll lose – you’ve got to put a measure on it. Figure out if that’s attainable. So how much weight you want to lose in this time frame, is that actually doable with your current life schedule, with the things that you have going on? Are you going to be able to follow through with that? And then of course, is it relevant to your life right now? And is it relevant to your circumstances?
Use this as a starting point whenever you're writing down your goals. It's so critical that things are written. Put them in a place where you can see them. Make sure they're Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Write each one of those out whenever you set a goal and use this as your starting point. When that time period lapses, go back and see how you're doing and see if you need to course-correct. No one is a failure especially when you're first taking a stab at this. The important thing is that you now have a starting point. Just get started.
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