In just a couple of days the clock will turn midnight and a new year will begin. Although it is just another day, January 1st is a measurable time marker in our lives. It marks another year older, another year wiser, and another year to set and meet our goals. By the time December rolls around everyone is ready for a new start, people all over the world set goals and resolutions for the coming year. These goals are written in journals, posted in cyberspace via blogs, walls, tweets, and tubes and then 3 weeks into January they are buried underneath a stack of papers or on the bottom of your blog roll. Point being, most New Year’s resolutions fail within the first month. If you make it past the first month then congratulations, you have done something right. If you want to have successful 2012 then you have to get S.M.A.R.T. about your goals. The acronym has been used for years as goal setting best practice across all industries and disciplines, whether you are looking to lose weight or get your dream job, S.M.A.R.T. goals will get you there.
Are you ready to get started? Take out a piece of paper and pen. Now take a deep breath and give yourself a solid 20 minutes to review the SMART criteria below and write down your goals for 2012. Limit these goals to about 3, anything more can be overwhelming. DO THIS NOW!
First write down 3 general goals then take each one through the Nutritionize! My Goal
criteria detailed below to make them SMART goals.
STEP 2: Nutritionize! My Goal
The SMART Goal Acronym
A goal should provide guidance and direction. General goals like ‘lose weight’, ‘get in shape’, ‘get a new job’ ‘eat better’, or ‘have less stress’ are far too vague and unspecific and most likely lead to failure. Use the S.M.A.R.T. criteria to help put more detail into your goal. Spending a few minutes to think through your goals is the first step to success.
S – Specific: I think this by far is the most important step in goal setting because it defines the goal. Answer the 5w’s below to take your goal from general to specific.
Who: Who is involved?
What: What do I want to accomplish?
Where: Identify a location.
When: Establish a time frame.
Which: Identify requirements and constraints.
Why: List specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
Have your goal be like an instruction telling you what to do. EXAMPLE: A general goal would be, “Get in shape.” But a specific goal would be, “Join a Crossfit gym and work out 5 times a week on after work on Mon-Thursday and first thing in the morning on Saturday.
M – Measurable: If you don’t know where you started or where you are going you won’t know if you have gotten there.
Measurement is key. I suggest keeping a journal and to determine if your goal is measurable ask yourself questions such as:
How will I know when it is accomplished?
Produce evidence for your progress. If your goal is to “reduce stress” create a stress measure for yourself like the number of times you get upset every day.
Keep a log and record each stressful reaction.
A – Attainable: If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and talks like a duck then it’s a duck!
When YOU set your goals and identify the goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways to make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills and financial capacity to reach them. You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals. You begin to look and feel like having achieved that goal and therefore do.
Your goal should be meaningful to you. It should be set by you, not someone else.
The goal should be inspiring enough that it motivates you to success. If you are not determined to meet your goal, obstacles will be very difficult to overcome.
If your doctor says, “lose weight” and your wife says, “lose weight” but you are not inspired by this, find another goal that also improves your health while you try to find a way to become inspired about weight loss.
Have integrity around your goals, recognize that no one is perfect and there are going to be difficult times that may make sticking to your goal challenging, rather than beating yourself up for falling off the goal, get back on!
R – Realistic: Keep it real! Set a goal that you are both willing and able to work towards.
Your goal is probably realistic if you truly believe that it can be accomplished. Also ask yourself if you have ever done anything similar, for example have you ever been at your goal weight before in your life.
Goals should be ambitious, but not impossible. Do not set yourself up for failure.
Goals can be high and realistic. Remember it’s okay to go big! High goals are more often achieved because there is higher motivation
T – Time: We are a time based society and doing something for time gets us moving real quick! Use your time wisely.
When will you finish your goal? Choose a time frame that is realistic and ambitious.
Saying “I will lose 20 pounds in 3 months” is good, but saying “I will lose an average of 2 pounds every week for 10 weeks” is better.
Now write your goal:
Finish the following sentence:
I will [your goal here] by [how you will do the goal]. I will know I am making progress because [how you will measure the goal] [time goes here].
For example: I will lose 20 pounds by increasing my exercise to 4 times a week and cutting back on sugar and portion size. I will know I am making progress because I will lose 2 pounds a week for ten weeks.
Here are some SMART goal examples:
Fitness example SMART goal: I will work out by doing cardiovascular activity of walking 3 days per week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I will do this at the gym for 30-45 minutes from 5:45pm-6:30pm. I will pack my gym clothes with me and bring them to work for no excuses.
Life Balance example SMART goal: I will take one hour for myself every evening of the work week to turn off my work phone and computer. During this time, I will do something for me, spend time with my family, read a book, meditate or do something physically active around the house.
Now that you have taken your goal from simple to SMART, go out and tweet it, blog it, wall it, SHARE IT! Post your SMART goals to comments or on the NUTRITIONIZE FB page.
Happy New Year- See you in 2012!
Nourish Me – Mindful Eating Workshop
In this 4 part series, you will develop your awareness of how you eat, what you eat, when you eat and why you eat. Through body movement, mindful meditation, and nutrition education we will begin to unravel our eating patterns and make mindful choices. We will learn techniques to develop mindfulness and apply it to our daily nutrition lifestyle.
Series starts Thursday January 5th. Space is limited. Register here.