How to set goals & achieve them!
SMART Goals for SMART gals
By Mollie Millington, the Happiness Personal Trainer, www.ptmollie.com
I am a firm believer in stepping outside of your comfort zone to see personal growth. In order to do this, you need to embrace a community where you can thrive and grow, which will nurture your desires.
How do you define community? It can be your friends, family, neighbours, people in your church group, or the parents at school. If you can inspire your family, friends and the people around you to be involved, they can help you achieve your goals too.
SMART goals are a way to set criteria to keep you focused on what you want to achieve. I believe in a balance between work, life, fitness food and fun. It is fine for your goals to encompass these aspects. SMART stands for:
Specific - Be very clear with what you need to do. Instead of 'go to the gym' set a required length of time and even a specific activity to take part in while you are there. For example ‘Go to the gym for 20 minutes and lift weights.’
Measurable - There needs to be a way to monitor your progress. You need to be able to track your progress with marker points so you can understand how you are doing. You should review your performance on a very regular basis and don't forget to pat yourself on back as things go well.
Achievable - Although stepping outside your comfort zone is good, don't look too far ahead (such as qualifying for the Olympics in 15 years or becoming the CEO of the company). Running a marathon within 6 months is more doable and landing that promotion by the end of the year.
Relevant - To what you are working towards in life. Make sure your goals tie right in with your life plan and ensure that achieving them will add real value to your life, now that's a goal worth working towards.
Time - Set a deadline, either with a specific date or a specific time frame. Signing up for a race is a good way of doing this! Personally, I do better with training if I am registered for a race, have a wedding to attend, or a beach holiday booked. The deadline will keep you motivated and on track with your goals.
'Get fit' is a goal my clients often wish to achieve. But ‘fit’ means something different to different people. For one person, it might mean being able to run an entire 5k. For others it might mean being able to bench press their own weight, or perhaps wearing a pair of skinny jeans. Once you can establish what your objective is, it makes it easier to figure out the necessary steps to get there.
Baseline measurements are a way to establish where you are starting from. You need to know where you are starting from to be able to see how far you have come. A few ideas for baseline measurements include: time trial for 1 km or mile; body circumference measurements; how your clothes fit; the amount of weight you can lift. Decide what data you collect around what your goals are. Write down the information along with the date and revisit these measurements every four to eight weeks.
Two other tips for success include limiting how many days per week you have to do something to 6 days a week. This is just in case life occasionally gets in the way. It would be a shame to do fantastic six days in a row but then not achieve because you were ill or the kids wouldn't go to bed on time, you miss one day and ‘fail’.
The other is to limit yourself to only three goals at a time because too much change can be overwhelming, especially if you want to change your diet, increase the amount of exercise you are doing and quit smoking. These things are very difficult and probably at times comforting. Focus on only three goals to start, even if they are slightly related.
- 10 minutes of alone time 4 days/week
- Call a friend or relative once a month to catch up
- Go to parkrun 4 times in the next 8 weeks
- Do one minute of press ups 6 days a week
- Drink 1 l of water by 7pm Monday-Friday
- Make school lunches night before 3 days/week
- In bed by 10.30pm Monday- Thursday
Finally, don't be afraid to change the goalposts if you need to. Perhaps a new deadline cropped up at work or your family needed some extra help. Feel free to edit your goals to keep them achievable. You want to keep the entire experience as positive as possible and sometimes life throws curve balls.