Day 6 of 31-Day Series “Your Last Health Resolution”
If you’ve followed along through the first five days, you’ve laid a solid foundation. You know more about yourself and your core motivation for pursuing change. Now you can set a goal for your fitness plan on that foundation.
You’ve probably heard the well-known goal-setting acrostic: S.M.A.R.T. We’re going to talk about setting a SMARTER goal here. (That’s not because I think I’ve found a better way. It’s an actual continuation of the acrostic.)
Your want a goal with significance. Aim high, but keep it simple and sustainable. Ask the question, “Will this stretch me?”
Most people err on this aspect. They want to “look better” or “feel healthier”. Those are great desires but are difficult to measure. You’ll want to put some handles on your goal so you can determine when you’ve grabbed it. Ask the question, “Can I measure this, and how will I know when it’s accomplished?”
I love to dream big myself. But I’ve set the bar so high with some previous goals I found it nearly impossible to reach them. At the start of this year I set a goal of reading a book every two weeks. I do find a lot of enjoyment in reading and find it extremely valuable to my personal and professional development. But I also know I struggle reading consistently. Finishing a book every two weeks was a little too high for me. But in this case, it did push me to read more and didn’t leave me discouraged. If you rise to a challenge and aren’t crushed by failure, aim high. If you’re sensitive to missing the mark, stay within reason. Hit your goal. Then aim a little higher. Ask the question, “How can I achieve this?”
You want your goal to count for something. Saying, “I want 14″ forearms by the end of year,” counts as a SMARTER goal but not necessarily as a good use of your time and energy. Ask the question, “Will this play an important role in my health?”
Set a time for completion. If it’s open-ended, you’ll be tempted to put it off indefinitely. Having a specific time frame allows you to back-plan and set benchmarks along the way. Ask the question, “How long will I have to complete this?”
Evaluate and Reevaluate
Evaluation and reevaluation gives you the flexibility to alter your fitness plan goal if necessary. Give yourself the grace to readjust mid-course if you realize your goal is unattainable. Or if you see you’ve set the bar too low, raise it up. And once you’ve hit your goal, evaluate and set another. Ask the question, “What worked or didn’t work and how can I improve?”
For those of you who need some practical examples (like me), here are a few:
- “Lose 10 pounds in the next six weeks.”
- “Drop my waist size by three inches by the end of the year.”
- “Eat three servings of vegetables a day for the next 28 days.”
- “Reduce my coffee consumption to one cup a day for the next two weeks.”
- “Go to bed at 10:00 every weekday for the next month.”
- “Spend thirty minutes outdoors everyday for the next two weeks.”
- “Work up to completing a 5k in the next three weeks.” – Shout out to Mike Beck (pictured right wearing medal) who completed this last weekend!
Tomorrow we focus on how to start right so you can finish well. Everyone can start, but it’s how you finish that matters.