New Years’ resolutions tend to pass just as quickly as the holidays! A few weeks of dedication give way to the resumed struggles of daily life. If this sounds like you, recommit to your resolutions with these tips for goal setting.
Any time behavior change is involved, it will be difficult. The long-held number is that it takes 21 days to drive in a new habit, but every person is different and some newer research suggests it can take 66 days. Besides, if you’ve ever developed a bad habit, you probably didn’t realize how short of a time it took to sink in!
Rather than focusing on the number of days you need to “make the change,” put your attention on setting the right type of goal. The simple acronym “SMART” is perfect for developing clear fitness or nutrition goals.
S.M.A.R.T – Goal Setting Made Easy!
Perhaps you’ve heard of the SMART system before. It’s no secret to “goal-oriented go-getters” because it works!
The five components of a SMART goal:
This is not the time to generalize. These are your goals. Define the goal with a simple, written statement.
General Goal: “I want to lose weight.”
Specific Goal: “I want to lose 10 pounds, 3 inches off of my waist and run two miles without stopping.”
Make It Measurable.
In order to actually evaluate progress and adjust if you needed, the goal must be measured in a clear, tangible way. Using units of measurement is an easy way to accomplish this.
General Goal: I want to workout regularly.”
Measurable Goal: “I want to workout for 20 minutes, 3 times per week.”
Is It Attainable?
Often, people set overly ambitious goals that are very tough to accomplish. The trick is to set a goal that will challenge you, but still seems possible. A good rule of thumb is if you do not feel over 80% certain that you can reach the goal, you need to reevaluate.
Unattainable Goal: “I want to lose 100 pounds in 4 months.”
Attainable Goal: “I want to lose 2 pounds per week by working out 4 times a week for 30 minutes and tracking my food intake to ensure healthy eating and proper nutrition.”
Also, for particularly complex or long-term goals, it helps to break the goal into smaller, more attainable segments that keep you challenged, yet confident.
Have Results in Mind!
Successful goals should be focused on a result rather than an activity.
Activity Goal: “I want to workout everyday.”
Results-focused Goal: “I want to be able to bike 25 miles without stopping.”
Keep It Time-bound.
Deadlines can help you stay on track by fostering a sense of urgency. Plus, for longer or complex goals, it forces you to consider exactly how you will accomplish your goal in the time provided!
Endless Goal: “I want to get fit.”
Time-centered Goal: “In 3 months I want to lose 10 pounds and be able to run an 8 minute mile.”
By setting a SMART goal, you are lining up a path for success. If you already established a resolution for the new year, this is a great time to revisit your plans and adjust. If goal-setting is not your thing, perhaps it’s time to consider a short-term SMART goal and see what’s possible!