"You gotta have a goal. Do you have a goal?" This question was asked by Kit DeLuca to her future roommate at the end of Pretty Woman. I like where Kit's head is at, because goals are super important, but having a goal is only the first part. You gotta have a SMART goal.
So, what is a SMART goal? Well, it's one of the key ways to make your goal achievable. Kit's counterpart answers that she's always wanted to join the Ice Capades, but without a plan on how she's going to get there, my bet is that she doesn't. Which is sad. So let's set some happy goals together, because a happy goal, is a SMART goal.
S: Specific. This is all about getting really clear with your goal. Rather than saying, "I want to lose weight", set the goal as, "I want to lose 20 pounds".
M: Measurable. The more specific you goal, the easier it is to measure. Ideally you can answer the question, “did I achieve my goal” with a yes/no response. Compare the goals “exercise more” and “walk 20 minutes per day a minimum of 3 days per week.” It’s easy to see how the second goal makes it easier to measure success.
A: Attainable. Challenge yourself, but remember to keep the goal realistic. Losing 50 pounds, while doable for those with extra weight to lose, is very challenging. As you have to lose 10 pounds before you can lose 50 pounds, set your sights on the 10 pounds first. At the conclusion of the goal, you can, and should, set a new goal.
R: Relevant. Is the goal important to you at this time in your life? If you're going through a major life event, maybe it's best to shoot for weight maintenance at this time. Think about why you want this goal, is it really weight loss you're after, or an overall healthier lifestyle?
T: Timely. I talk to too many people that have been trying to lose the same 10 pounds for the past 5 years. Clearly their plan is not working! Having a deadline to achieve your goal helps to hold you accountable and offers a time to reflect on your goal/action plan and make necessary adjustments moving forward.
So, now that you have the breakdown, what does a SMART goal look like? Here is an example:
"Lose 20 pounds by September 31st. I will average 2 pounds of weight loss each week by walking 5 days a week for 30 minutes a day and cutting out soda."
WOW! That's not just a goal, that's an action plan! You know exactly what you're doing AND how you're going to get there. Ice Capades, here we come! Just kidding, I'm pretty sure that's not a thing anymore and why the A and the R above are important.
What goals are you working towards right now? Are they SMART goals? If not, use the framework above to give yourself some clarity on the goal, and an action plan for how you're going to get there.