What are SMART Goals?
SMART Goals stand for:
Specific – A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. To set specific goals ask yourself the following questions:
Who: Who is involved?
What: What do I want to accomplish?
Where: Identify a location.
When: Establish a time frame.
Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
EXAMPLE: A general goal would be, “Lose weight” But a specific goal would say, “Lose 20lbs and drop 3 dress sizes by working out 5 days per week and eating healthy.”
Your goal should clearly emphasize what you want to happen which will help keep you focused on your end result.
Measurable – Your goals must be measurable in order to achieve it. If you don’t know where you started, you will never know if you are on track to achieving your goal. The first thing to do is establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set. When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience small achievement as you see your numbers change, which will help you to stay motivated to continue your efforts to reaching your desired goals.
To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as the following questions:
How will I know when it is accomplished?
I once heard someone say, If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Here is a following template that we use with our personal training clients to monitor their progress. You can download it to your computer and use it to measure your own progress.
Click Here to Download the Progress Report
Attainable – Your goals need to be attainable. For instance, if you aim to lose 20lbs in one week, we all know that there isn’t a healthy way to achieve that. However, if you set a goal for yourself to lose 1-2lbs a week for 12 weeks and commit to it, in a few weeks when your see your body starting to change it will keep you motivate and focused on losing that 20lbs.
If you set goals that are too far out of your reach, the chances are you will never commit to doing because you will get frustrated if you don’t see progress right away. Although you may start with the best of intentions, the knowledge that it’s too much for you means your subconscious will keep reminding you of this fact and will stop you from ever giving it your best.
Once you identify your specific and attainable goals, you need to figure out a way to make them happen. You need to develop the attitude, ability, and skills, you need to achieve them. You can attain most any goal you set when you wisely create a plan and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out your plan. You may find that some goals that may have seemed too far away and out of reach eventually seem more attainable when you have a plan to follow.
Realistic – Your goal must be something you truly believe that you can accomplish. A realistic goal should be something that you have to work towards achieving and may push your skills and knowledge, but it shouldn’t be something that breaks you before you accomplish it.
Again I am going to use the goal of trying to lose 20lbs in one week. We all know that there is no healthy way to achieve this and the chances are that if you try you will get half way through the week and quit because the changes are not coming fast enough. However, if you take the same goal of losing 20lbs and commit to doing it over a 12 week period of time aiming to lose 1-2lbs a week for 12 weeks, your chances of being successful are much more likely and when your see your body starting to change after a few weeks it will keep you motivated and focused on the end results.
Timely – It’s important to set a realistic time frame to achieving your goal. With no time frame there is no sense of urgency.
If you want to lose 20 lbs, when do you want to lose it by? I’ll get there “Someday” doesn’t cut it!
But if you have a deadline to get it done, you will find a way to get there. How many times have you had a deadline to get a project done at work or at school? You always found a way to get it done right? Heck, I can remember pulling all nighters in college the night before a big paper was due because I HAD to do it before the deadline.
When you plan your goals set a deadline and work backwards and create a plan for yourself to get there. If you don’t set a deadline, your commitment will be too vague and you never will get around to achieving your goal because there is always a sense that you can start at any time. How many times have you said, “I’ll wait till Monday to start” or “I’ll do it tomorrow?” Did you ever end up doing it?
Without a deadline, there’s no sense of urgency to start taking action now.
2011 is a New Year and a change to create a new you, I would love to hear what your SMART Goals are for 2011, please post a comment below