Do you set goals for yourself? If so why or why not? I think you should start setting goals for yourself if you don't already. You might be wondering why is it so important to set goals?
Without goals, how do you stay motivated when things get hard? How do you know if you are being successful or how can you tell if you are “falling behind”? Usually setting the goal is the easy part, it's stick through and staying motivated long after those goals are set that becomes difficult.
If you know me, you know I am a total free spirit. I don't make schedules, I am rarely on time for anything and I'm constantly changing my mind. It's difficult for me to set goals because I let my right now desires dictate what I am doing for the next few hours/days and rarely think very far into the future because well, I'll likely change my mind anyway.
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This attitude has allowed me to change and morph into the person I am now. But lately I've realized that I've been stuck in a weird transition mode. With my business, with my workouts and with my eating. I can't commit to any one thing so I end up really sporadic and I can't nail down where problems are in my life because I haven't had a plan to follow.
I'm starting to realize why it is so important to set goals! Goals are important so that you have a path. So you can track your progress (even if it backwards, upside down or right on track). I talk to my clients in length about why it's important to set SMART goals, and I won't even let them continue with their training with me without some concrete goals to work towards. I use these goals to help motivate my clients when they are losing momentum or just need that kick in the butt!
So what the heck is a SMART goal? SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. Let's quickly go over each of these so we can make SMART goals together:
Specific– you need to be specific. Like numbers, percentages, pounds or miles. So a specific goal might be “do 10 consecutive pull-ups” or “Lose 5% body fat”. Specific means you can quantify it.
Measurable – if your goal is specific, make sure you can measure it. Can you get your body fat percentage tested now and later? If not, then saying you want to lose 5% body fat is not going to be a measurable goal. So then you might need to say lose 3 inches from your waist, something you can measure.
Achievable – this one is where I'm going to ask you to stretch just a bit. Is your goal achievable? So if your goal is something that is really going to be a stretch for you but you know if you can just buckle down you can achieve it, it's probably a good goal. But if it's something that would require you to dedicate let's say 4 hours a day of your free time to achieve and you know you only have an hour max, then it's probably too far of a stretch. Be realistic but push yourself a little. After all nothing great happens when we are comfortable!
Realistic – this goes with achievable. A perfect example might be you want to go from couch to marathon runner but have never ran before in your life and you don't have more than 4 hours a week to dedicate to running. This is not realistic. However, you could certainly make the time to go from couch to 5K or 10K with this time available. Let's be realistic about our goals. Same goes for if you have weight to lose or a job you want to quit. Be realistic about how much time it might take to lose the weight or find another job.
Timely – you need a timeline. What is the date that you will measure your success at achieving this goal. There has to be an end date, otherwise it's just a very big “someday” which likely means it will never happen.
So now you know what SMART goals are. And you know why goal setting is important. So now go set one goal for yourself. Don't go trying to be an overachiever. The more things you try to change about yourself at once, the less likely you are to stick with any of them. Maybe this is part of my problem as well, I'm always trying to fix all the things at once instead of just fixing one at a time. This is something I will be working on this summer. I have realized that I like to over commit my time and constantly feel like I am racing the clock. This is probably why I'm always running behind as well!
I'm off to set SMART goals for myself, I hope you plan on doing the same. If you have a SMART goal you would like to share, I would love to hear it!!
What about you?
- Do you over commit yourself to things and then feel overwhelmed all the time?
- Do you write down your goals and tell people what they are?
- Are your goals specific enough?