Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals
New Year New Me!
January of every year is the time to close the chapter on the year before and get started on the next one. It is a time full of motivation, possibilities, and goals. This is the year I am going to be my best me ever!
We’re about a month in, how is it going? Are you still going strong or has the resolution fallen to the side? If you’re not currently on track to fulfill that resolution or meet that goal you set, don’t feel so bad. One quick google search will tell you that nearly 80% of all resolutions fail by February. This happens for a variety of reasons but one of them is that the resolution or goal is just too broad to actually make happen. On Monday, the diet starts. But, what does that mean? Are you going to change your habits starting on January 1st? What habits are you wanting to change?
The start of a new year is absolutely a great time evaluate your life, reflect on experiences and maybe do some resetting but it doesn’t have to be a time where you overwhelm yourself with all the new changes you are going to set in motion to make it the best year ever. Let’s talk about one way to set goals that are reachable and can help you be in that small group of people that are nailing those resolutions.
If deciding that you want to lose weight, get a promotion, or run a marathon isn’t enough, what does work? S.M.A.R.T. Goals work! I’m not just being a smart ass! S.M.A.R.T. stands for:
Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Relevant. Time-bound.
Have you heard the saying “failing to plan is planning to fail”? What about “a goal without a plan is just a dream?” When setting goals, fitness or not, understanding this acronym can help you set goals that are achievable because you have a plan in place that will help you reach them.
Here’s how it works:
Likely, you have a goal in mind you’d like to achieve. Maybe you want to lose weight, run a marathon or eat healthier. How much weight? Could be any amount. Heck, one big poop could do the trick! Run a marathon when? One day? Perfect… that one day may never get here! Eat healthier? Than who? What does eating healthier look like?
Without setting parameters on your goals, there is nothing to hold you accountable and no way to know if you accomplished them. This makes letting them slip away into the unreached goal abyss very easy. (We all have a few out there floating around, don’t we?)
What each letter means:
The more specific you are in your goal, the more likely are to succeed because it removes any confusion on if the goal was accomplished.
How/when will your progress be measured? When measuring progress, it is important to keep outside factors consistent. Track progress at similar time and day. For example, weighing yourself can look very different Monday morning compared to Wednesday evening because of various factors like food intake, water intake, last bowel movement, inflammation from exercise, ect..
Too big of goal leads to feelings of disappointment if not achieved which reduced motivation. Goals should be challenging but within reach. Saying you want to run a marathon next month if you’re not a runner probably won’t happen. Saying you want to run a marathon 6 months from now is more realistic.
What actions will you be taking and are they relevant to your goal? If you are looking to run a marathon, setting action steps based on chest presses are probably not the most relevant. You would want to focus more on cardiovascular actions.
Be specific here: how many times a week will you work out? When will those workouts take place? What barriers might come up that could prevent you from getting that workout in? How can you overcome said barriers?
Giving yourself a deadline to work towards can serve as motivation. It also gives you a check in point to evaluate if you have accomplished your goal. Be mindful in setting this timeline so that you don’t have unrealistic expectations and feel disappointed if you don’t hit your mark.
Let’s do an example of S.M.A.R.T. Goal:
Original goal: I would like to lose weight.
Specific: I would like to lose 20 pounds. From 170lbs to 150lbs.
Measurable: I will track my progress by weighing myself every Friday morning before work.
Attainable: This goal will challenge me but it is attainable based on the actions I will take and scientific studies that show it is possible.
Relevant: Actions that I am going to take are relevant to my goal. My action steps include increasing caloric expenditure by walking briskly for 30 minutes 5x a week and decreasing caloric intake by choosing healthy meals and snacks as opposed to their unhealthy counterpart. (If you are comfortable with calorie counting and macros, set your specific goals here)
Time-bound: I will give myself 6 months to hit this goal. (that is a pace of .5-1lb per week)
Original goal goes from “I want to lose weight” to a S.M.A.R.T. Goal of “I will lose 20 pounds in the next 6 months. I will do this by walking 5 days a week for 30 minutes and choosing healthy meals and snacks. I will track my progress by weighing myself every Friday morning before work.” This S.M.A.R.T. Goal sets you up with a plan for success and it leaves no question if in 6 months it has been met.
If you are struggling with setting goals and keeping them for yourself around nutrition or health, Grace Savory & Sweet has recently started offering nutrition coaching in addition to our meal prep services. It is an all-online program designed to help you set both long- and short-term goals with a coach to help you set yourself up for success and hold you accountable along the way. If this is something you might be interested in, reach out to us at https://www.gracesavorysweet.com/contact. We look forward to helping you make 2023 your best year ever, for real this time!