You’re so SMART
So you’re ready to make a change in your life. Whether you want to lose weight, become more flexible, get stronger or move faster… you need a goal. Goals are wonderful, but if they are vague or unattainable… you’re doomed for failure. Let’s break it down:
Specific: I want to lose weight. I want to put on muscle. I want to be a runner, or be a better runner. I want to keep my room clean. These are all great ideas, but lack definition. I want to put muscle on my arms, lose weight around my middle, or run in a few local races… better definition. It’s also good to set short-term goals you can reach within a month, as well as long-term goals, but ideally 3 month goals. I will talk more about that further down.
Measurable– Next, we need a way to know if we’ve hit our target. A good start is the typical, I want to lose 15 lbs, gain 5 lbs of muscle, run a marathon (are you crazy??) or do a cart-wheel (but legit, how do you do this?)
Even better… I want to fit into this dress (and own it) and lose 3 inches around my waist. I want to run the Boston Marathon (and sign up). I want to bench my body weight. I want to throw away all useless papers, shirts I haven’t worn in a year, vacuum and swiffer the cobwebs in my room. And learn how to do a cart-wheel.
Weight loss and muscle growth are in our control, but with factors like sleep, hormones, and stress… you need to have a lot of patience. I frequently remind my clients about how strong they are getting in order to keep up motivation. Take pictures. Take measurements. Track achievements. Sometimes we focus so much on the trees we miss the forest. (I think I’m using that metaphor correctly)
Achievable– “I want to lose 30lbs in a month”. Oh hell no. “I think I’ll jump into a half marathon next weekend”. I hope you enjoy stress fractures. “I’ll just try to cart-wheel and see what happens”. I hear neck braces are the new scarfs this fall.
It’s important to have achievable goals, or else you run the risk of frustration, disappointment, lack of motivation or worse, an injury or unhealthy relationship with food. You want to put on muscle… do you have access to a gym or equipment? Want to lose weight… do you have the time and ability to make healthy meals? Want to cart-wheel… do you have soft materials to land on?
Pro-tip: 1-2/lb a week of weight loss is sustainable. Anyone who has lost significant amount of weight will tell you it’s just as hard to maintain that weight loss. Make sure that carrot is just far enough out of reach to push you, but not so far you need 20/20 to see it.
Relevant- You will struggle to succeed if you don’t form a feasible plan that aligns with your goals. Trying to “find time” to work out is difficult, who has that much extra free time in their day? You have to MAKE time. That may mean waking up 30 mins earlier and/or packing a gym bag to go right after work. Maybe making plans to meet a friend for a run at a certain time. Or cooking healthy meals on the weekends and then pre-packing them for lunch. Even just starting out by not keeping junk food in the house. Will power is fickle, you need to make a plan to succeed and strategies for when you face obstacles.
Make sure to have a deadline, or you could procrastinate that goal until… forever. I love working with brides bc they know EXACTLY how many hours until the big day. The same can apply for high school reunions, vacations, race day, or any arbitrary date really. The brilliant minds as Asian Efficiency recommend 90 day cycles for any product or goal. It’s enough time to have a big dream, but no time to waste.
Example: I want to wear my red dress from 5 years ago by my 15 year HS reunion in 3 months. I plan to do this by waking up 30 mins early on M/W/F and jogging for 25 mins. I will leave my phone across the room in my running shoes, so I have to get up to turn it off. I will make a big salad and cook chicken on Sunday and Wednesday, so I have fresh and healthy meals to take to work.
When thinking about your SMART goals, I believe it should focus on something positive. While weight loss is a fine goal, even the word loss is negative. You have to focus on eating less, cutting out treats, missing out on splurging at the game or after work drinks… aka FOMO (fear of missing out). Instead, making a goal of eating a salad everyday, going to the gym 4x/week, or squatting your body weight, are all things that you can add into your life. Not take away. Mostly likely you’ll still lose weight in the process, but being faster skating on the ice, finishing your first 5k, and just carrying wood pieces up 67 stairs without a break… that will keep you motivated through the rough patches.
Also, pick a goal that works for YOU. I went to a conference the past week at Cressey Sports Performance and (re)learned a value lesson (well, many… but I’m trying to stay focused) from Tony and Greg. Even with positive goals, you’ll still have to make sacrifices. So make sure you really want those goals. You want to be top powerlifter? You’ll probably have to lack some mobility for extra stability… and apparently some sanity? So if you don’t want to lose weight, don’t. If you think it’d be cool to pick something up that’s twice you’re body weight… go for it! It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the goals that other people have for us. Some those people who care for us, whether consciously or not, will try to steer our goals in their directions. But if it’s not important to you, it’s not going to stick. It’s just not. No matter what Auntie Sue thinks. So you… do you and #crushit