Are You Setting Goals The Right Way?

are-you-setting-goals-the-right-way

Most people are absolutely terrible at setting goals.  Are your goals “SMART”?

That is, are they:

  • (S)pecific
  • (M)easureable
  • (A)ction based
  • (R)ealistic
  • (T)ime based

These are great guidelines for setting goals.  If you aren’t even setting goals for yourself then this is a great starting point.

When I ask people what their goals are, they say something vague like:

“I want to lose some weight”

“I want to lose some belly fat”

“I want to live a healthier lifestyle”

I want to look hot again”

Do you see anything wrong with these goals?  I’ll go into each part of the SMART goals so by the end of this blog post you can set yourself some highly effective goals!

1. Make it specific

Instead of saying “I want to lose some weight”, give it a number.  Better yet don’t worry about losing weight, worry about losing fat.  The difference between losing 10lbs of weight vs 10 lbs of fat are massive.

You could easily lose 2lbs in a day just by dehyrating yourself and not eating for 18 hours.  Would you look better? You’d look pretty much the same.  But if you had lost 2lb of fat, that would be a subtle change, but it would be at least possibly noticeable.

You could even lose fat, gain muscle and still weight the same but look way sexier. 

So make your goal to lose an x amount of fat rather than weight.  Or maybe you’ve reached your goal weight/fat percentage and now have other fitness goals such as getting your half marathon time under 2 hours.  Or maybe you want to be able to squat your bodyweight.

Make it as specific as possible.

2. Make it measureable

In fact this may be obvious that if it is specific then it is likely to be measurable. So as long as your goal is specific then you will usually pass the measurablility test.

3. Make it action based

Now this may seem incredibly obvious that if you have a goal, there needs to be a way for you to achieve it.  Not much sense in wanting something if you have no idea on how to get it.

Fitness goals are usually always action based.  So if your goal is to lose fat then it will be clearly action based.  If you goal is not based in health or fitness then make sure there are steps you can take to achieve that goal.

4. Make it realistic

Now this is the most ambiguous aspect of setting goals.  The difference between a realistic goals and selling yourself short can be a very fine line.

On one hand you don’t want to limit yourself by believing you can only achieve so and so, and on the other hand you need a goal that can be reached otherwise you’ll get dishearted and quit.

My advice here is to have a big dream.  Don’t limit your beliefs in what can be done.  But set micro-goals that can easily be achieved on your way to making that dream a reality.

This way you reach these sub-goals and each time you do this it builds your confidence, and then you can start pressing the limits of what is possible.

Just don’t sit down and say that you want to be on the cover of Women’s Health next month when you weigh 180lbs.  Being on the cover of Women’s Health could be your big dream, but start by giving yourself 30 days to lose 8lbs of fat.

5. Make it time based

I have alluded to this already.  Give yourself a time limit for these goals.  This will give you a psychological edge that will force you to work harder and will motivate you do the hard stuff every day in order to achieve that goal.

Make sure your time frame is realistic!  Don’t push it too hard but don’t make it too easy on yourself either.  Challenge yourself, but also give yourself something you can do.

What to do if you set a goal and fail to reach it?

Now this is very disheartening when this happens.  Just say you set yourself a goal such as lose 10lbs of fat in the next 6 weeks but only manage to lose 5lbs of fat in those 6 weeks.

What were the action steps that you were to taking to accomplish that goal?

Were you tracking your calorie intake? Did you stick to the diet?

Did you do all the workouts you planned to?

Did you indulge in too much chocholate?

Were you sleeping enough?

This is where you assess the action steps you took in those 6 weeks.   And determine what you did right and where did you go wrong.  Then you can improve on that for your next goal.

I’d like to know if you’ve been setting the right kind of goals.  Let me know in the comments what your next “SMART” goal is.

About The Author

Steve Scott

Steve Scott is an expert on weight loss through diet and exercise. He has a Certificate III & IV in Fitness (Personal Trainer), Level II in Track & Field Coaching (Sprints & Hurdles) and holds a BA (Psychology/Sport Studies).

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