Tuesday, March 8, 2016

SMART Goals

I think that one of the most important lessons in the Personal Nutrition course I took in January was how to set a SMART goal. I've mentioned it in my monthly goals post, but never went in depth.

SMART stands for:
Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Realistic/Relevant
Timely
(Yes, you might find other words replaced in the SMART definition, but for the most part, it's all the same.)

A word about SMART goals - Because SMART goals force you to set a timeframe, this isn't always the *best* way to set a goal. Sometimes a goal isn't always realistic in the beginning, because you don't have everything you need. For example, having a goal of being a parent is a great goal, but not necessarily a SMART goal - because nature plays a big part in your success, you can't put a specific timeframe on it without the fear of failure. Believe me, I had my parenting goals down before I was a teenager. But life said otherwise, and I'm three years past when I was supposed to STOP having children, and I still have none. When I think of SMART goals, I think of smaller, more reasonable ideas that we can set specific criteria for.

So let's break it down, and I'll show you how I created my two SMART goals for the month.

1) S - SPECIFIC
Setting a goal without a plan is really more like a dream, wouldn't you agree? I can say that my goal is to lose weight, but how do I achieve it? What if I just wanted to exercise more? What does "more" mean? Does it mean 15 minutes more than I have been? Or several times a week? How do I know when I succeeded? So first we need to get specific about what our goal is.

Goal 1: Work out at least 4 days a week
Goal 2: Meditate 6 days a week

2) M - MEASURABLE
How can you track your goal and see that you are headed in the right direction? Give yourself concrete mini-goals, target dates, etc.

Goal 1: Work out 4 days a week
Week 1: Work out 2 days a week, 1 hour minutes at a time
Week 2: Work out 3 days a week, 1 hour at a time
Week 3: Work out 3 days a week, 1 hour at a time
Week 4: Work out 4 days a week, 1 hour at a time
Goal 2: Meditate 6 days a week
Week 1: Meditate 3 days a week, at least 20 minutes at a time
Week 2: Meditate 4 days a week, at least 20 minutes at a time
Week 3: Meditate 5 days a week, at least 20 minutes at a time
Week 4: Meditate 6 days a week, at least 20 minutes at a time

3) A - ATTAINABLE
Can you feasibly accomplish this goal? Will you need assistance? Are you prepared to make that committment? Am I willing to do what it takes to meet my goals? This goes hand in hand with #4, Realistic, so I'll continue my example there.

4) R - REALISTIC/RELEVANT
Will your goal fit into your current lifestyle? If you want to lose 50 pounds and you want to do it in 1 month, is it realistic? Heck no. But wanting to lose 10 pounds in 1 month might be more realistic. Does this new goal fit in with other goals? If you want to lose 10 pounds in a month but do not have access to healthy food, is your goal relevantto your life at present? Can your goal be made even more realistic by choosing what time of day you want to do something? Of course!

My goals, while realistic, are not really attainable and relevant to my current situation. As much as I'd love to work out an hour each day, can I just jump into working out again and push for a full hour? No. So lets update my goals to make them more realistic and attainable.

Goal 1: Work out 4 days a week
Week 1: Work out 2 days a week, 30 minutes at a time, as soon as I get home from work
Week 2: Work out 3 days a week, 30 minutes at a time, as soon as I get home from work
Week 3: Work out 3 days a week, 1 hour at a time, as soon as I get home from work
Week 4: Work out 4 days a week, 1 hour at a time, as soon as I get home from work
Goal 2: Meditate 6 days a week
Week 1: Meditate 3 days a week, at least 5 minutes at a time, when I first wake up
Week 2: Meditate 4 days a week, at least 10 minutes at a time, when I first wake up
Week 3: Meditate 5 days a week, at least 10 minutes at a time, when I first wake up
Week 4: Meditate 6 days a week, at least 10 minutes at a time, when I first wake up

5) T - TIMELY/TIMEBOUND
Give your goal a completion date. Without an end date, your goal does not pressure you to accomplish it. Sure, I can say I want to lose 80 pounds, but without an actual date for success, I can put off a workout, eat an extra piece of cake... "I'll get around to losing weight eventually." But the true point of these goals is to succeed, and you have to set a deadline to do it.

Goal 1: By Sunday April 10, I WILL be working our at least 1 hour a day, 4 days a week.
Goal 2: By Sunday, April 10, I WILL be meditating for at least 10 minutes a day, 6 days a week.

Goal 1: Work out 4 days a week
Week 1 (Mar 14 - 20): Work out 2 days a week, 30 minutes at a time, as soon as I get home from work
Week 2 (Mar 21 - 28): Work out 3 days a week, 30 minutes at a time, as soon as I get home from work
Week 3 (Mar 29 - Apr 3): Work out 3 days a week, 1 hour at a time, as soon as I get home from work
Week 4 (Apr 4 - Apr 10): Work out 4 days a week, 1 hour at a time, as soon as I get home from work
Goal 2: Meditate 6 days a week
Week 1 (Mar 14 -  20): Meditate 3 days a week, at least 5 minutes at a time, when I first wake up
Week 2 (Mar 21 - 28): Meditate 4 days a week, at least 10 minutes at a time, when I first wake up
Week 3(Mar 29 - Apr 3): Meditate 5 days a week, at least 10 minutes at a time, when I first wake up
Week 4(Apr 4 - Apr 10): Meditate 6 days a week, at least 10 minutes at a time, when I first wake up

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