Goal Setting: How to Reach Results

    The New Year is here, and with the New Year brings new goals to achieve for the year. Now let me ask you this, how many of you are actually making new goals? What I mean is, are you setting a goal that you have used in the past because you didn’t achieve it the year before? There is actually a reason why most people do not achieve their New Year Resolutions, it is because they are not setting S.M.A.R.T goals and I am not talking about smart, like intelligence. S.M.A.R.T is an acronym for:

Specific

Measurable

Action Oriented 

Realistic

Time-bound 

    Goals are like a roadmap to where you are heading to, and if you want an efficient drive, you need a plan. The more efficient the plan the better the chances are to achieve the goal. Using the S.M.A.R.T goal setting, you are increasing the likelihood of your goals being achieved. Actually you will be 2-3x more likely to stick with it and not give up. 

    Let’s talk about how to create a goal so you do not give up on it and feel proud for achieving the said goal. First, you need to ask yourself this question:

What is your goal, and how badly do you want to achieve this goal? 

    The first part of the question is easy, but the other half will probably take some soul searching. How badly you want it is really asking yourself, what pain are you willing to endure? What sacrifices are willing to make? Depending on the goal, some sacrifices will probably mean forming a new habit that replaces a bad habit to achieve a goal, unless you want to reverse any progress. For example, if the goal is fat loss, a sacrifice might mean you have to give up a habit of eating something sweet every single night before bed. Are you willing to make this sacrifice? This is just one example out of many, but do you see the point? 

Something you also need to consider is that you need to focus on one goal at a time. A great barrier of someone achieving their goals is having too many goals to achieve, this is called goal competition. Let’s get rid of the competition and focus on the goal that matters the most to you. Once this goal is achieved, move onto the next goal that matters to you. This way you are not being pulled in multiple directions and achieving nothing. 

Specific

Alright, now let’s get S.M.A.R.T with our goals. First we have to be specific with our goals. Most people are broad with what they want to achieve, and this is their first mistake. You have to get specific with it, for example; instead of saying I want to lose weight, you need to go deeper into what that looks like. How much weight do you want to lose? Do you have a plan to lose weight? Do you have time-table to lose that weight? Ask these questions to yourself to be successful. 

Measurable

Once you created a specific goal, now you need a way to measure your progress for that goal. Do not think about measurement as the result, but to discover and understand the data. An example is if your goal is fat loss, a way to measure is the scale. Measure your weight everyday, but the day to day results are not measuring your success, it is gathering data. The more data you have the better you can understand what your weight is doing from week to week and month to month. What sounds better, having 4 data points a month or 30 data points? I would argue that 30 data points will give me a better picture. The point is this, find a way to measure and track your goal. It can be setting a set number of days to the gym, having a number of cooked meals at home, etc. Many ways you can make a goal measurable. Just do not say something in the line of I want to go to the gym more, or eat out less. Make the goal measurable and where you can collect data on it. 

Action Oriented 

    Part of the problem of New Year Resolutions are that people say them but do not create an actionable plan. When you create your goal, you need to create a plan of action for that goal. Let’s recap a bit here. We have to be specific with the goal and make it measurable. Now we need to make a plan with these variables. An example would be if the goal is to lose fat. This goal needs to be more specific, so it should look like; I want to lose 15 lbs. We can make it measurable by losing 1 lb per week. So how are we going to lose this weight? Better nutrition and going to the gym. Be more specific and measurable. I will find my maintenance calories and go into a 500 calorie deficit while strength training 3 days per week. This example went from very broad of losing fat to having a specific goal with a plan of action. We also have a way to measure weight, calorie intake, and the amount of time in the gym per week. We have a specific goal with a way to measure progress and a plan of action to achieve this goal. 

Realistic

This one should be an easy one, make sure your goal is achievable. I am not saying make it easy like. I want to lose 1lb this year. Be realistic with your goals, it would be impossible to go from nothing to say running a marathon in 30 days. I would rather you take super small steps towards a goal than going 0-60mph to achieve a goal that is out of reach. This might take some research on what is achievable. Let’s go back to the marathon example, I have no clue on how long it would take to get ready for a marathon, but if that was my goal I would look into it instead of going in blind and say I want to do this in 3 months. Is getting ready for a marathon in 3 months achievable? I do not know so it is important to find out before making any plans. This should be the same with any goal, make sure it is achievable, or you risk burnout and quitting and being discouraged in trying again. 

Time-Bound

The last component to your S.M.A.R.T goals is time. Set a certain amount of time to achieve your goal. While doing this, remember to be realistic, do not go crazy and make this an unachievable goal. It would not be realistic to lose 50 lbs in 2 months or run that marathon in 30 days. While you are setting your goal, creating a plan of action, set a realistic time frame to achieve this goal. 

Helpful Tips 

Now that you have created your S.M.A.R.T goal, write it down. Do not just write it down in a notebook. Write down the whole S.M.A.R.T goal on a post and put it where you will see it daily. Seeing this daily and even multiple times during the day will keep it fresh in your memory. Your actions will be more geared to your goals and will help you stay on track. Some of my favorite spots to post these notes are the bathroom mirror. Every time you brush your teeth or wash your hands you are reading your S.M.A.R.T goals. You can also take a picture and set it as your background on your phone. Now every time you pick up your phone you are reminded of your goals and what you need to do to be successful. 

Eliminate options that will derail you from your goals, make sure your environment  is setting yourself up for success. Spend time on the things that matter to you and ask yourself if this is important? Will this help me be successful? 

One last thing, let’s make sure this is sustainable. I already mentioned this before, but ask yourself if you are willing to make the sacrifice. Some of the sacrifices should be lifelong if you want to maintain. I also want to be clear, that does not mean you cannot enjoy anything like certain foods etc. I am talking more about habits, for example, a bowl of ice cream every single night before bed. This habit is most likely limiting you on your fat loss goals. That doesn’t mean you can never have a bowl of ice cream again, the sacrifice is not having it every single night. That is one example, but I wanted to make sure that is clear. There is a difference between enjoying certain foods/activities and abusing/overdoing it. It would not be sustainable to get rid of your favorite food, the solution is learning how to enjoy it in moderation that aligns with your goals. Same thing with enjoying watching TV, playing video games, and so on. Be S.M.A.R.T with your goals, make sure it’s sustainable, and write it down for you to see daily. After your S.M.A.R.T goal is complete, sit back and be proud of what you accomplished. Seriously, smile and be proud!

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