Picture this… Its January 1st. This year you want to lose weight! In fact you have
already started to cut out the cake at lunch, park your car further away from work and have joined the local yoga class. You have been weighing yourself daily and watching the numbers on the scales decrease. You have started off strong…
But then the weekend hits, you have that important birthday and you become discouraged. This weight loss thing doesn’t seem so fun anymore and you may have just convinced yourself you just don’t have self discipline! You have already resigned to the fact that any further weight loss is in fact impossible and you might was well start eating the cake at lunch time again. You begin to put that weight back on and focus your energy on something else. This vicious cycle continues again and again. Does this sound familiar?
How do we break out of the vicious cycle?
Goal setting helps quantify and clarify the ‘how,’ the ‘what,’ the ‘why’ and the ‘when’ behind these statements. The aptly named S.M.A.R.T goals provide you with direction, structure, accountability and give you a deadline to meet. The SMART criteria is as follows:
- Identifies exactly what you want to achieve.
- Studies have shown that task specific and challenging goals lead to higher performance than ‘do your best’ or no goals at all.
- Feedback or reward has been shown to increase task performance
- Places a measurable value on the task for example; centimetres; dress; minutes;
- It allows for re-evaluation to objectively review a goal
- Do you really believe you can do this?
- Your goal must challenge you enough to be outside of your comfort zone, however should be within your reach.
- Are both the goal and the timeframe you set to complete the goal realistic?
- Going from sedentary to running marathon distances may be realistic but doing this in 2 weeks may not be.
- Set a time frame to achieve this goal by. When do you plan to achieve this goal?
- Not only does writing down your goals increase success rate, but it has also been shown to improve happiness, satisfaction levels and also creates a sense of achievement.
A goal without a date is just a vision
- Try and limit the amount of goals you have at one time and prioritise them
- Follow the SMART goals principle and write them down
- Re -evaluate: goals are there to be adaptable and flexible to your current situations and change, a review of your goals with change of circumstances or a period of time is essential to the goal setting process.
- Share them with the people who will help you achieve them; choose wisely!
If you currently do not have any clear goals written down, I encourage you to set some time aside or book in for a review with your trainer to nut out what you want to achieve. Goal setting is something which most of us recognise the importance of to achieve success, so lets be SMART about it!