If you lack motivation or feel overwhelmed when starting a healthy lifestyle, you’re at a right place because we’re going to break down one of the most powerful ways of goal setting that you’d usually hear from the very best psychotherapists and life coaches.
S.M.A.R.T. goals are a fairly new idea – in 1981, George T. Doran, a consultant and former director of corporate planning for Washington Water Power Company, published a paper called, “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives.” What he meant by S.M.A.R.T. are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound goals!
S.M.A.R.T. goal setting is designed to provide structure and guidance throughout a journey to a healthier lifestyle and they help you better identify what you want to accomplish. Get a pen and a paper and let’s start working on your next goal.
S – Specific
When setting a goal, you have to be specific about what is it that you want to accomplish.
A good way of starting is answering the popular ‘w’ questions:
Who – Consider who else besides you is an important factor when it comes to your goal.
What – Get very detailed with what is it that you’re going to achieve. We want to have a very specific target that we’re aiming at!
When – Get yourself a vague timeline and a timeframe, on which we’ll work on some more when we get to the last S.M.A.R.T. point which is Time-Bound
Where – This may not always be a relevant question when setting the specifics of your goal, but if there’s a location or an event for which you’re preparing, you can write that down for yourself.
Which – This is where you need to think or all of the requirements related to your goal and take a good look to see if there are any obstacles on your way that need to be taken care of.
And finally, Why – What’s the reason you’re setting this goal for yourself?
M – Measurable
You need to make sure you can measure the progress towards your goal and to know exactly when you reach it. Now, having a healthier lifestyle isn’t about getting there – that’s a way of life. But, what you can do is break it down to a few pieces. What being healthy means to you? Which food are you going to eat, which physical activities do you want to do, how are you going to keep your mind healthy, how often would you like these activates to occur, etc?
A – Achievable
The goal you’ve set for yourself needs to be inspiring and shouldn’t ever make you feel discouraged. That’s why it’s important to make sure your goal is attainable. It may require new skills you’ll need to gain along the way and you may need to change your view and/or attitude towards the goal, but make sure it’s something you’re are able to do – and if not, try figuring out what you would need to make it attainable, which skills and/or tools you might need and then try to break it down even to smaller pieces, having those pieces as goals first while steadily climbing one by one to the bigger goal you’ve set for yourself.
R – Relevant
Is reaching your goal relevant to you? If you’re trying to reach a goal that has been set for you by someone else, or if you’re trying to reach it for something or somebody else, there’s a good chance you’ll struggle. So, make sure the goal you’re setting is personal and important to you!
T – Time-Bound
Provide yourself with a target date or deadline. Ask yourself what you want to achieve within that time period. Providing these time constraints creates a sense of urgency and helps you push yourself closer to the goal. You can also break this time period into smaller chunks of time, so you can better see where you’re at!
Another thing I'd add from my personal experience is - when setting goals make sure you are formulating the goal in a positive way. For example, it’s better to say to yourself that you’re going to eat fruit every day, rather than saying that you’re NOT going to eat sweets. Eating fruit can fight off the sugar craving, therefore you won’t have to think about NOT eating sweets.