Got Goals? Four ways to stay on track.

Striving for and reaching goals can be exhilarating part of a health and fitness journey. On the other side of the coin, the disappointment of ‘falling short,’ or not accomplishing an objective can be crushing. If goals are intended for personal accomplishment and empowerment, what gives?

When working with clients, I encourage them to structure their goals around some basic guidelines. These can help put your goals into the appropriate context (aka fitting your goals into your life, and not the other way around) and increase the likelihood of you attaining and maybe even surpassing your aspirations. When setting new goals, try to keep the following in mind.

Start with SMART

You’ve decided on a goal. Now ask yourself: is this goal SMART?  When goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time Bound, you’re creating an individualized and workable roadmap for success.

Being specific dissolves any ambiguity around what it is you’re trying to accomplish. Measuring what matters gives you reliable data points to give you feedback on your progress. Being attainable and realistic means you’re striving for a goal that can fit into the lifestyle you lead presently, and time bound allows you to set a reasonable frame in which to meet or reach this goal. 

Ask yourself: is my goal SMART? If so, you should feel confident about your ability to work towards it. If not, ask yourself: ‘What element(s) of SMART goal setting is my goal missing?’ Can you course-correct to make it more SMART?

One at a Time

Taking on all your goals at once can be very overwhelming and lead to burnout. The all-or-nothing approach can be quite frustrating, and for many people is not sustainable.

Instead, try accomplishing no more than ONE new habit each week- that can be as many as 52 new habits in a year! And because your goals are SMART, it’s pretty unlikely you need 52 new habits to make a change. Which leads me to…

Be Patient

Creating a true healthy lifestyle is not something that happens overnight. Consider this: your current goal is not something you are presently doing, otherwise it would be a habit or something accomplished on a regular basis.

In other words, in order to get different results, you’ll need to do some things differently than what you’ve tried before.  Changing your approach takes time! Be gentle on yourself and patient with your progress as you navigate your way through uncharted territory. And speaking of change….

Change is Inevitable 

You are not the same person today that you were yesterday. Think of all the life-altering experiences you’ve had just in the past year!

Setting expectations for yourself based off past accomplishments might be setting yourself up for failure. Think back to your lifestyle one year ago, five years ago, etc. How much has changed since then?

This ties back to the “attainable” and “realistic” elements of SMART goal setting: is this goal appropriate fo the lifestyle you have today?