Setting personal goals is a much more involved endeavor than we realize. It requires an initial investment of time that many of us don't consider. As with anything, when you build upon a strong foundation, you ultimately create a platform that can carry you throughout the entire process with a lot less pitfalls.
Setting SMART goals is s common practice and can typically create a better follow through rate than when we set willy-nilly goals like "I'm going to lose 10 pounds".
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable (realistic), Relevant, and Time-bound.
All well and good and a definite formula for success for many. However, this isn't the only effective way to set goals and if it's not working for you, there is still hope! It doesn't mean goal setting is off the table my dear, it simply means that we need to find another way to do the same thing, except we tie it in a way that's more closely bound to your emotions.
What are you committed to doing?
Can you say to yourself that running 10 miles a week can be done with your schedule? Or is two miles more realistic and something you can (and want) to do?
I know for me, I am committed to getting on my bike and doing at least three spin classes a week because I want to increase the strength in my glutes (yes, I would like a perkier butt please!). That's a definite and a non-negotiable for me. If I can fit in other training sessions during the week, that's a bonus for me. But the three classes a week are a MUST and I can easily fit that in. I am committed.
I am also committed to losing 5 pounds by eating better. This means taking out all the white stuff that's eked it's way back into my kitchen. It means more veggies and fiber and protein and good fats. Plenty of options!
Write out what it is you’re committed to and determine if it’s possible.
What's your Why? What's the deeper meaning behind the goal and how are you emotionally connected to it?
Now we're getting a little more detailed. What's going to get me on that bike, and what is going to get me to not snack on junk or eat bread, pasta, pizza and all other foods that have snuck back into my diet?
I know that while the physical benefits of being on that bike are great, and a perky butt is a driving force, having a healthier body so I can move and play and participate in activities with my boys will keep me showing up.
As for cleaning up my diet, it's super important for me to educate my boys on eating healthy so I need to set a good example and be an even better role model. If they see me in the corner of the kitchen near the pantry sneaking in handfuls of Kettle corn popcorn, aren't they going to think that that's an ok behavior to have?
I want their relationship around food to be a healthy one and as long as I can still pack their lunches, I'm going to do my best to fill it right.
And that’s it. Your emotional connection doesn’t have to be this long drawn out tear-jerker. Keep it clean and concise so you can easily refer to it when your brain starts giving you a little push back and doesn’t want to do the work.
Create your process.
Things always tend to run more smoothly when you have a process or a practice you can fall back on when the going gets tough (and it will!). Think about what you can change in your life to support your ability to achieve your goals. What is realistically feasible in your current state of life?
I know that I need to shop better and avoid going when I'm hungry or in a craving mood. Since I go to the store a few times a week, I go hungry more often than not! That’s something I need to change. Also, it's better to go without the kids so I'm not tossing in the extra bunnies and sugary cereals because truth be told, my little guy has a way of convincing me pretty easily! (He's just too freaking cute I can't stand it!)
As for getting in my non-negotiable three workouts a week, I’ve learned that these need to get don'e before the kids get home, because once that happens, it's snacks, and homework and prepping and making dinner. No time to sneak away. This means on some days I'm working out at 10:30 am, while others I can push it to 1:30. Knowing this helps plan my day so I'm not looking at the clock at 8:30 pm and feeling bad about not fitting in a workout.
Lastly, set your timeline.
How long will it take you to realistically achieve your goal?
Think this one through! If you've ever done a renovation on your house, no matter how big or small, chances are you went over-budget and over your timeline! We typically think things are going to happen a lot faster and when they don't, we get frustrated and blame ourselves. Be patient and be kind with yourself, especially if you're looking at a bigger goal of losing 50 pounds or more. That will take time because there are habits that need to be altered which take time.
My quest to lose 5 pounds by eating better and getting in my three workouts a week (at least), I'm giving myself 5 weeks. 1 pound a week is an achievable and realistic goal as long as I stick to my plan. It may come off a little quicker but since I'm not good with change and I know it takes me time to adjust and switch gears when it comes to eating, I'm giving myself the benefit of time. And let's be honest, 5 weeks flies by!
Time moves quickly so if you're serious about a goal but achieving it hasn't been easy, take the time to go through these questions and fully answer them to best of your abilities so you can finally scratch these goals off your to-do list!