Wednesday, January 11, 2017

New Year's Resolutions? Or SMART Goals? The 'How' to make it stick and be successful!

It is that time of year where we make 'New Year's Resolutions' and say 'this is the year I will make the big changes and meet all of my goals'!  But what most people do not realize is the 'goals' that are made are outcome goals (what they want to see) and are not SMART goals (behavioral and lifestyle changes to make it to the outcome goal).  We want to see the changes without any behavioral modifications.  We do not make ourselves accountable to anyone or anything just some outcome out in the sky that is not tangible or reachable.  But there are ways to make SMART goals and stick with them and make them successful.  SMART goals stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time frame As a Health Coach I have worked with many clients to set up good SMART goals so they can reach their outcome goals.  I will tell you that I have struggled and I have not met goals because I lose focus and I lose motivation (most likely because I was not accountable to anyone but myself).  But when setting SMART goals it is important to re-visit them weekly.  It is important to have an accountability partner so someone else to nudge or poke to get you out there to meet your weekly SMART goals.  It is important to see if the outcome goal will be reachable week to week.  It is not going to happen overnight and honestly an outcome goal needs to be reasonable.

Here are the five ways to make the correct SMART goals and reach those short behavioral goals and make them your outcome goal.

S (Specific): Set a specific goal.

  • What am I going to accomplish? Say my goal is to eat more vegetables overall, so I want to say my goal is to 'eat 2 servings of vegetables a day for the week'.
  • How is this going to help me?  I will definitely lose weight if I am eating more fiber and healthy foods.
M (Measurable): Make the goal measurable
  • It is important to be able to track progress. Say I want to read more books on a specific topic, then I would set a goal to 'read 10 pages a day in my book'.
  • How is this going to help me? I will become more knowable over the year.
A (Achievable): Make the goal achievable
  • Ask yourself if this goal can be achieved in a week...?  It needs to be a goal that is manageable in a small period of time.
  • For instance a goal would read like... 'Walk 20 minutes 3 days this week'.
R (Realistic): Make the goal realistic
  • Is this goal appropriate for my current situation?  Ask yourself if you can complete this goal in a week... For someone that has never eaten a salad in their life but wants to start (yes, I have met those clients that have never had a salad!) should have a goal of 'eat one small salad for one meal 3 days this week'.
  • And set a goal that will challenge you a little for the week to help with motivation.  A little challenge goes a long way!
T (Time frame): Set a time-frame on the goal.
  • Crucial part of your goal is setting a time frame on it.  There is no use to set a time frame on the outcome but on behavioral goals each week a time frame is very important and helpful.
  • Tangible goals are very helpful because it is something that can be touched and it is within arms reach.
  • So setting a time frame goal is... 'Drink 4-16oz glasses of water a day' or 'Run 1 mile 3 days a week'.  Both of those goals are very doable and they have a time frame because it is either every day or several days of the week.  I have had some of my clients actually write down the days they will do certain things because they put it in their calendar and it makes it easier to achieve.  
So setting SMART goals will set you up for success with your outcome goals.  Use this as a guideline of how to set your week to week goals.  Make sure you have an accountability partner to guide you along the way.  And just think maybe your partner needs you too for the same reason.  We can help each other.

If you have questions about how to set goals let me know and I can give a little more guidance.

Blessings!  And have fun setting SMART goals!

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