Setting goals is important. They help you stay focused and accountable. However, how you set goals can make all the difference between succeeding and falling off the wagon again and again. In fact, it’s probably the most common reason why you can’t see the results you want. Next time you’re aiming to lose weight, eat healthy or just start a more consistent workout routine, use the guidelines below to help you reach your goals with confidence and ease.
Set goals the SMART way
When setting a goal, make sure it’s reasonable and attainable. Keep it simple so you don’t find yourself discouraged or disappointed. As a therapist, I teach SMART goals to help with good goal setting to avoid common errors. SMART goals are “smart”, but each letter represents something important.
Specific – This means the goal is to be very clear and concise. If you want to lose weight, don’t just say I want to lose weight, set a specific goal weight. If you want to travel, pick a destination and a date. Make it specific!
Measurable – If your goal is measurable, you should be able to answer the “how’s”. For example, if you’re going to set a goal to exercise, you may want to consider how often, how long, or how many times a week. The reason you want a measurable goal is because it makes it easier to observe when it has been accomplished.
Attainable – The worst thing you can do is set a goal that isn’t attainable. Start small, and then work your way up. Instead of setting a goal of losing 50 lbs, set goals in 5-10 lb increments. If you’re setting a goal of travelling to Paris, consider starting with the goal of researching. Once you’ve researched, start planning; then start saving and booking. People have much greater success when they start with smaller goals that are attainable. If you set your goals too high, it’s easy to get discouraged early in the game.
Relevant – When evaluating whether or not your goal is relevant, you may want to consider if it is worthwhile. Weigh the pros and cons. Is it something that will add to your overall life or happiness? It’s also important to ask yourself if it’s the right time. For example, starting a goal to lose weight the day before Christmas isn’t exactly a recipe for success.
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