I love the beginning of a new year. With each new year I take the time to write several new year’s resolutions to try and better myself. This year was a little crazy. I had just had a baby and was just finishing the hardest semester of my college career. When the semester ended I didn’t think much about anything except my new baby and relaxing. So… I didn’t take the time to write any resolutions. Now that life has settled down and I back into a set routine I finally got around to writing some resolutions, even if we are already a month into 2013..
It’s pretty easy to set goals. The hard part is keeping them. Am I right? But a few years ago, I was told a tip to help set goals that are effective and easy to keep. What is the tip, you ask? The key is to set goals that are SMART. Obviously smart is an acronym and each letter stands for something to keep in mind when you set goals.
S = Specific. When you are setting a goal try and answer the questions of who, what, where, when and why. Let me give you an example. Since we are a health and fitness blog I will use the goal of getting in shape (keep in mind that SMART goes for any goal though). So let’s say I want to get in shape. Instead of simply saying I want to be more in shape I need to specify exactly what I am going to do to get there. So I could set a goal that I am going to exercise for 30 minutes every day.
M = Measurable. A successful goal needs to be a measurable goal- you need to have a way to track your progress and accomplishment. So sticking with the get in shape goal say something like “I want to run 3 times a week to get ready for a half marathon on this date” instead of “I want to run a half marathon”.
A = Achievable. If you set goals for your that are unrealistic and unlikely to be achieved, you are only setting yourself up for disappointment. I know that when I set goals that aren’t really achievable I end up getting frustrated and I usually give up trying altogether. It is good to set high expectations for yourself but make them realistic as well. Setting a goal to lose 10 pounds in a week is probably not the best idea.
R = Reportable. One way to stick to goals is to have someone that you report them to. For example, whenever I set a goal for myself I always tell my husband. That way whenever I start to stray from the goal, he can remind me of what I really want and he also helps to keep me motivated with my goals. Another idea is to blog about your goal or post it on facebook. Let your friends know what you want, what you are going to do to get there, and then update them on your progress. That way you have a bunch of people backing you up and helping you stay motivated and committed to your goals.
T = Time-bound. I have found that, although it isn’t always necessary, the best goals are those that have a time table, a due date, an accomplish it by _____ time. It makes goals seem more real and more possible if there is a specific date.
Let me give you a real life example of a smart goal. Like I said earlier, I recently had a baby (2 months ago from yesterday to be exact). I also recently got the go ahead from my doctor to begin working out and I am very anxious and excited to get back into shape! So I picked a half marathon to run. I created a training schedule (you can see it here) and I am running it with my sister. So my overall goal is to get in shape but my SMART goal is to get in shape by training for a half marathon. I have a specific training schedule so I can measure my progress. I gave myself enough time to make the goal achievable and I am training with my sister so I have someone to report to.
See? Easy peasy! You can do it too!!
What are your SMART goals? I would love to hear all about them!