We all have goals, right? I know I do. And there’s nothing quite like the awesome feeling that comes from reaching a goal and finally being able to say, “I did it!”
Unfortunately, some goals are harder to achieve than others, and these goals are usually the ones that are the most important to us.
“I want to lose weight” is an example of a very common—and important—goal. It’s the goal of all of our transformation clients, as well as many of our Facebook friends. It’s one of the top New Year’s Resolutions every single year.
So why is this goal—and others like it—so hard to achieve? The main reason is this type of goal is not a SMART goal. It’s too vague and open-ended. It’s a really nice wish, but the chances of making this wish into a reality are pretty slim.
In order to be considered SMART, a goal must have these five components:
So how does this process work? Let’s change “I want to lose weight” into a smaller, more focused SMART goal.
Specific: The questions “how,” “what,” and “when” are answered in this step. “How” will you lose weight? “What” will you do to lose weight? “When” will you do it? This is a specific goal that answers all these questions: “I will lose 6 pounds in 6 weeks. I will accomplish this by consuming 1500 calories per day and by exercising at least 5 minutes 5 days a week.” Now that’s specific! (I can hear you asking, “Heidi, only 5 minutes a day?” Yes. That’s the type of promise you make to yourself. Stay with me and it will all make sense ☺).
Measurable: To achieve a goal you have to be able to regularly measure your progress. Numbers don’t lie, and they can keep you moving in the right direction or help you refocus your efforts. To make this goal measureable, let’s add, “I will weigh myself every Monday morning and I will record my progress.”
Attainable: A successful goal must be attainable—not too difficult—or you’re setting yourself up for failure from day one. Yes, you could make a goal to exercise 5 days a week for 30 minutes, but let’s be honest: sometimes life gets in the way and the best plans go out the window, and then you feel like a failure. Make your goal attainable—one you can keep every single day—and you’ll be well on your way to success. You’ll love those daily feelings of accomplishment so much that you might even do more than you’ve promised yourself you’d do (like exercising more than 5 minutes a day)!
Relevant: Make sure your SMART goal is important enough that you’ll want to make the necessary changes and sacrifices to achieve it. Like Chris says, “Make sure that for you, the juice is worth the squeeze!” (He’s handsome, brilliant and witty!)
Time-bound: A SMART goal must have a time limit so you won’t get sidetracked and not accomplish your goal. A 6-week limit makes this goal time-bound.
Another important aspect of SMART Goals is how they’re stated. You don’t say “I want to,” or “I’ll try”; you say, “I will.” Something as simple as stating “I will” commits you to reaching that goal. It gets rid of the wiggle room.
Once you achieve your first SMART goal, you’ll be ready to set and reach another one, and then another one, and so on until you reach your ultimate goal.
There’s no stopping you now!