In the United States, we are absolutely goal OBSESSED. Like, it’s almost terrifying. Every single website (HYPELINE included) seems to offer some type of self-help, life changing advice. From life coaches to personal trainers to self help blogs, you see evidence everywhere.
Yet, for being so obsessed with goals and change, we’re REALLY bad at actually achieving anything.
Part of that is that Americans have an incredibly short attention span. If we don’t see results immediately, we tend to be incredibly flaky and stop whatever we’re doing. So, our lack of achieving is partially due to us not sticking with it…but it’s also due to the fact that we’re not very SMART.
SMART is an acronym that any goal setter needs to implement when they’re looking for results. It’s the way to break down a goal so that it’s achievable. Let’s walk through the SMART strategy using the vague goal of ‘losing weight’.
So, I said that I want to ‘lose weight’. That’s not very specific though-it’s an ambiguous term that means that if I even lose .0001 pounds, I achieved my goal. A better goal would be ‘lose 10 pounds’.
Directly connected to being specific is making sure a goal is measurable. If you don’t have any way of tracking the progress of a goal, how can you make sure that you’re achieving it? If you want to lose weight, you will have a certain number of pounds or inches that you want to lose, and you will track them (I suggest weekly if you’re just starting something and then monthly after you’ve been doing it for a while).
You can have something that’s specific and measurable, yet TOTALLY not achievable. ‘Lose 100 pounds in three months’ is NOT achievable. ‘Lose 10 pounds in 10 weeks’ is. Think in terms of micro goals; set smaller goals that you can build on that you will actually be able to achieve rather than setting yourself up for failure.
If you want to lose weight, you may set a goal of ‘work out for one hour four times a week’. Yet, if you’re consuming five giant containers of soda and a crazy amount of sugar each day, your goal to workout is less important than starting to cut sugar and soda out of your diet. You may want to create conjoined goals, but still look for what’s most relevant.
Finally, goals shouldn’t be created to just continue for an infinite period of time; they need to have an end point and a timeline. A weight loss goal with a good timeline would be, “I will lose 10 pounds in the first 10 weeks, and 15 in the second 10 weeks.” Just saying, “I want to lose weight,” won’t do anything unless you put a deadline and a timeline in place.
Finally, after you’ve created a SMART goal, remember to turn your goal into action steps. For our SMART goal of ‘lose 10 pounds in 10 weeks’, we would need to convert it to weekly tasks that will propel you toward that goal. Things like deciding how many times per week you’ll workout, creating a meal plan, and setting a goal for how much water you’ll drink each day are all good examples of turning a goal into action.
You now have all you need to get out there and start crushing those goals. Happy goal setting!