Goals was a word that used to intimidate me. The definition given states a goal is: the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result. In my own head, a goal was a deadline-it was something you HAD to meet and it was CONCRETE. I’m not the best at planning life events ahead of time and trying to figure out goals used to make me feel like I needed to have my chaotic life better put together! Talk about pressure!
Recently, I began to see goals a little differently. I think of goals as being more like guidelines. They are the big dark outlines in a coloring book that form a picture. I can use whatever color I want to fill in the blank spaces, but, staying in the designated lines help see the picture. This, (and that picture of Jack Sparrow I always imagine) takes the intimidation, the expectation of being perfect, and the fear, out of setting goals.
Having guidelines in your life are important, they give you purpose-and in a gym setting I know I thrive when I have a purpose. New Years is the time of year people go full speed ahead with fitness and health goals but then they sputter out just as quickly…why?? Sometimes life happens, you get busy, the gym has too many people or my favorite (and I’ve done this) is not making goals/half-ass making goals. (Never half-ass anything, use your full ass!!!) Easy to say, but when it came to goal writing, I wasn’t doing a good job and would end up quitting or continuing the year with no sights in mind.
Here is where I am going to be that blog, for this time of year-aka New Year’s. It’s just the perfect time to bring up goal setting and how it’s done. Even when I believe you can set goals at ANY time during the 365 days we have in the year, now is the time when people are googling “how do I set a goal”…I know I did!
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. These are important aspects to a goal and hitting all of them can be is a little difficult and a tad bit overwhelming if you are new to the goal setting game.
For this little blog, I want to touch on the goals people will make that pertain to their health and fitness (because, well-its me and I eat, sleep, and breathe fitness.) So, I’ve laid out some of my best guidelines to help you this year! That doesn’t mean SMART goals with health and fitness in mind won’t aide you in your life goals that you may have, but it will help you practice!
1. Write it out! With any writing process, just start writing your thoughts down on paper and then sort that out later. Writing down what you are thinking about will get you closer to figuring out a SMART goal and it helps hold yourself accountable to that goal. Be sure you place this where you will see it daily (I know it sounds a little granola/yogi but it’s been proven that writing it down and having you goal visible will help you achieve it-check this article from Forbes here.)
2. If your goal is to ‘lose weight’ I want you to tell yourself how many actual pounds you want to lose. That sets your goal in your sights. Now, with this I also want you to pick a time frame and this will just be another guideline to help you in your journey. Here’s something I tell my clients (and myself): you didn’t gain that weight in 5 days so don’t expect to lose it in 5 days. Be gentle with yourself and also pick a time frame that works with your lifestyle. You can always build on these guidelines, especially if you surpass your original goal (Notice we definitely hit the Specific, Attainable and Timely part of SMART)
3. Now, if losing weight isn’t a goal and you need a more task driven goal for the gym-that’s also something we can work with! It will hit your Specific in SMART, just in a different way. You want to do a pull up? Give yourself three weeks to build up the strength and muscles used, but most importantly make sure you are doing things that help with your goal. If you set your sights on a non-assisted pull up, don’t build yourself a program that has you squatting three times a week and doing bicep curls! (We just touched on Relevant, y’all and this goal setting doesn’t seem too bad-right?!)
4. Re-evaluate your goals! Quarterly? Half way through the year? It doesn’t matter when, but you definitely need to. Life may throw you a curve ball, for example you change positions at work or you need to work different hours and travel more; you should look at your goals you’ve written and see what can change to help set yourself up for success. These goals you set aren’t CONCRETE (like I once told myself they were) and you should always help set yourself up for success!
Still feeling a little iffy on goal setting? My last tip, and one that I did. I made a list! It help me sort out in my mind all the thoughts jumbled up in there on what I wanted to accomplish in 2020. I’ve since gone back to my list and started to write out a more detailed version of the one-word goal I had listed. Goal setting can be as overwhelming as you allow it to be, like most things-if you just take a step back and revisit the basics, you can work through it.
Now, sit back with your favorite mug of coffee and start your New Year (or any of the 365-ish days we have in the year) and set some goals! I know I am…maybe after my third cup 😉
No artful bullshit ever and forever yours,