By Gavin Imes
As January comes to a close, let’s take a moment to reflect on the beginning of the new year. Did you make any resolutions for 2020? If so, how are you doing with those resolutions? Are you on track to meet your goals and starting to see a change in yourself? Or is reading this article the first time that you have thought about your resolutions since the first week of the month?
To be honest, both of those paths are fine, and there is no point in beating yourself up if you haven’t kept up with your resolutions. These goals are generally only for your own personal growth and development, so what you put in is what you will get out.
If you do find yourself in the latter group, and you want to find a way to make your resolutions come true, it may be time to revisit SMART goals.
Yes, remember SMART goals from the seminar? When we had you write out specific steps that you could take towards achieving your goals? I know, I can hear some of your audible groans from here. But whether you love them or you hate them, the SMART methodology may be just the thing to keep you on track with regards to your resolutions.
Let’s revisit the SMART methodology, shall we? To help us understand this methodology, let’s pretend our resolution for 2020 is to get in shape.
This resolution needs a lot of work. Let’s take it through the five steps of SMART Goals.
- Your goal needs to be SPECIFIC. So far, our resolution is very vague. We need to specify the WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN and WHY. Instead of saying, “I want to get in shape,” say something more meaningful like, “I want to lose 10 pounds” or “I want to gain 10 pounds of muscle.” Now we are specifying what we mean by “in shape.” In addition, how are you going to reach that goal? Add onto the goal by specifying how you plan to reach the desired result, IN DETAIL. For example, your goal could be “By going to the gym four times a week, targeting different muscle groups each day, I plan to gain 10 pounds of muscle in the next year, so I am better equipped to play the sports I love,” or something along those lines.
- Your goal needs to be MEASURABLE. Set benchmarks for yourself. Weigh yourself before you begin training, so you have a baseline to go off. Set up small goals that will help you reach your main goal. For example, you could set a goal to lose two pounds in the first month of the year. These smaller goals are easier to work towards, and achieving smaller goals will help you stay motivated.
- Your goal needs to be ATTAINABLE. What skills are required to meet your goal? If you want to gain muscle but have never lifted weights before, you may need to do some research on weight lifting or meet with a trainer before starting towards your goal. If you go to the gym with no foundation of understanding how to reach your goal, it will be very hard to achieve. Educating yourself on how to reach your goal is super important and will help make your goal a reality.
- Your goal needs to be REALISTIC. Make sure your goal is reachable. Note that we are not trying to lose 10 pounds in a month, which may be a little lofty. If your goal is not attainable and you start to realize you can’t reach it, you may lose motivation quickly. Personally, I find that smaller goals are better. Once I reach that goal, I re-evaluate to see if I want to set another goal. Note that what is attainable is completely up to your own abilities. This step may require some self-reflection to determine what is attainable for you.
- Your goal needs to be TIME-BASED. Set a deadline to work towards. Without a deadline, you may find yourself not working as hard towards the goal, since it could go on indefinitely. Work towards the deadline, but don’t give up or beat yourself up if you don’t make the deadline. Maybe you just need to re-evaluate and find a more realistic goal, or adjust how you are working toward your goal. Goal-setting is an iterative process—your goal is not set in stone!
Hopefully this refresher on SMART goals will help you reach your 2020 resolutions! The most important thing to remember is that you need to be gracious and kind to yourself during the process. The fact that you want to work on yourself is awesome, and that should be celebrated! It is ok to make mistakes and have setbacks every once in a while, as long as you learn from them and keep pressing forward.
Have questions about SMART goals, or have a SMART goals success story? Feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you!