In our last post we talked about the mind-body makeover which has 3 elements:
• Identifying and Setting your Goals
• Identifying your Action Plan
• Improving your mindset
Let’s expand on that today to arm you with the “how to set and achieve goals” part of this makeover. Once you have decided what areas you want or need to focus on to improve our body and health, the next step is to set clear goals. This is where I’ve seen a lot of people get tripped up.
A goal has to have the following characteristics in order to be effective. It has to be: – Specific – Measurable – Attainable – Realistic – Timely
Yes, this is the time honored “SMART” method. You may have seen this at work or in workshops. It’s used everywhere because it works. Let’s go over these one-by-one:
Specific: “I want to tone up,” is not going to cut it. “I want to lose 10 pounds,” or, “I want to fit into my size ‘X’ jeans,” is much better.
Think of 1 or 2 for yourself now:
Measurable: This goes hand-in-hand with specificity, because there has to be a way to know whether you achieved the goal or not. Either you lost 10 pounds, or you didn’t. You fit into your size X jeans or you didn’t, and if you didn’t, you and your coach should have some data from what you’ve been tracking, so it’ll be clear where you fell short and what has to change.
Attainable: It has to be something you can do, and something that you believe (or, better yet, decided) that you can do. Making a decision is powerful. Losing 50 pounds might be attainable in a year’s time, but it’s better to start off with smaller goals so you have a sense of accomplishment and feel rewarded for your hard work. Choose a goal of 1-2 pounds per week, celebrate when you hit those marks and keep moving toward the bigger goal.
Realistic: If you are just starting and are not yet able to perform pushups on your toes, then having a goal of 20 toe pushups by the end of the first week is not realistic. But if getting stronger is your goal, you know we will have you on your toes by the end of your first month for sure. So we can help set that goal and make it happen.
Timely: There has to be a deadline. Let’s say you’re a 160-pound woman who wants to lose 25 pounds. A knowledgeable coach will know that the average rate of weight loss for a woman following a well-designed exercise and nutrition plan about 80% of the time is about a pound per week.
So a Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely Goal would be to lose 25 pounds in about 6 months.
A smaller goal would be to lose 5 pounds in the first month. This might be easier to digest and will help build confidence, momentum and a sense of accomplishment.
Once you’ve identified where you are today and exactly what you want to achieve in a given timeframe, exercise and nutrition really become much simpler. No more guesswork; no more starting, stopping and failing – Only Success!!
One more thing: Some of my clients have found it helpful to write their goals down on paper and display them somewhere prominent in their home (by the nightstand or on the refrigerator) so they’ll see them every day and keep their eye on the prize. Visualization!