Success With Goal Setting
Goal Setting is the key to any successful health and fitness or weight-loss plan.
A well-defined goal gives you motivation, it helps you make the right choices when times get tough.
The New year is a great time to set new goals… but anytime is good.
After a couple of weeks of overindulging at this time of year we all feel the need to make a change and do something different. But…
Without a well-defined goal we can’t make a plan, and without a plan change is unlikely.
It would be like setting off on a car journey before knowing where you were going,
you wouldn’t know what direction to go, how far to drive or how long it would take you.
You would be unlikely to get where you wanted and very likely to get lost.
And you certainly wouldn’t be enthusiastic for the journey ahead.
Whatever the reason is you want to make a change, whether it’s to lose weight, to reduce your risk of diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer or diabetes, or simply to feel better and have more energy.
How important this change is to you will determine your success.
PART 1. Video
In part 2 we’ll talk more about “What goals to set” but until then give some thought to why you want to make this change.
How will it change your life when your successful in making this change? How will you feel?
Who else will it affect?
How will it affect your children for example?
The 5 Whys.
Take a few minutes now to do this little exercise;
First ask yourself why you want this change, then ask why of that answer and then ask why of that answer.
Do this 3-5 times and you’ll gain a lot of insight in to what you really want, this will help with defining your goal in Part 2 and motivating you to achieving it (Part 4).
The change I want to make is for me and my family to stop eating foods that are not good for us, to stop making bad choices.
Why1. I want to stop making bad choices because I feel we are missing out on some good nutrition and we’re not eating real food.
Why2 We don’t eat real food, a healthier diet because I don’t buy that sort of food.
Why3. I don’t buy real food because I’m not sure what to buy, I don’t know many recipes and don’t know how to cook it.
You can see here that I have moved from wanting give up unhealthy food to realising that I need to learn about real food and how to prepare and cook it. So my goal will be to do with finding and trying new foods and recipes rather than focusing on cutting out certain foods.
Part 2. Video
Now you know the change you want, let’s make it in to a well-defined goal.
a well-defined goal is a SMART GOAL.
Attainable or Agreed
Well-defined and clearly stated.
In six months from now I will be down to a weight of 76kg for example.
There must be a way to measure your progress towards your goal.
If you goal was are losing weight you would weigh yourself each week to monitor your progress.
Attainable or Agreed
Is the specific change you want actually attainable? Is it possible? You may want to lose 20kg, 44lbs or over 3 stone, if your well over weight then this is possible but if you want to lose it in 3 months then it’s not possible to do in a healthy way. Agreed is if you have a coach or trainer, do they agree that the change is attainable.
Your goal may be attainable to lose 20kg in 5 months, that’s 1kg a week, the maximum weight loss its recommended to average in a healthy way. But is it realistic for you?
Do you usually stick to things that are very hard for that length of time? It doesn’t allow for a single blip or a plateau for a week or two.
So would it be more realistic for you to lose that amount of weight over 12 months? That’s under 1lb a week on average.
Your goal needs to have a start date and an end date.
You need to know when you will arrive so you can make a realistic plan to attain your goal.
EXAMPLE; My goal (made at the beginning of January 2016) is to lose 20kg of body weight by the end of November 2016 (47 weeks).
That’s Specific, easily measurable by weighing. Attainable, if I am at least 3 stone over weight. Realistic, less than 0.5kg (under 1lb) per week to lose on average. And Time Bound, having a start and end Date.
Part 3. Video
Now you have a smart goal you need to turn this in to a SMART Plan. It needs breaking down in to smaller mini goals.
The end date of your smart goal may not be for 3-18 months away and it can be almost impossible to keep focused on something so distant.
But by breaking it down in to incremental steps, mini goals, all of them SMART, they will be less daunting and more doable.
These SMART mini goals should be about 1 week to 4 weeks long, any longer and they can seem a bit distant and not as urgent and much smaller and they can be hard to measure.
Once you have all your SMART mini goals laid out, all you have to do is make list of tasks to do each day to reach your mini goal. You can do this list at the beginning of each week or each night for the next day.
These daily lists could include your days’ exercise (what, where and when).
Your meal plan for the day, how much water you will drink, they can include anything that will help you achieve your SMART mini goal. It could be a reminder to put your exercise kit in the car so you can go to the gym on the way home from work. Or simply to get up 15minutes earlier so you can walk to school instead of driving.
The important thing is you write this down and make it real, this simple list of priorities for this one day will move you another step closer to your SMART goal.
Personally I like to make a list of meals for the week and shop for them as much as possible at the weekend, planning quick prep meals for the days I know I will be pushed for time. Also I like to plan snacks like fruit, dried fruit and some seeds or nuts, because if I don’t I know I will go hunting for stuff to snack on at some point in the week, and these decisions are best made in advance before the urge takes hold.
As for my exercise, I plan it for early morning whenever possible. If I don’t the chance of doing the workout I want diminishes with every passing hour as the demands of the day take over.
Part 4 Video
This section is about using everything at your disposal to stick to your plan. Every tool or trick every bit of support or help that you can find should be employed to keep you on track.
From pulling at your emotions by writing down the result of your 5 why’s and sticking it on the fridge, to employing a coach to guide and encourage you. Or finding more ways or gadgets to track and measure your progress.
The most important things here are anything that will keep your reason for doing this at the front of your mind, your reason for change that you refined in the 5 why’s.
Also any kind of support and encouragement you can get, any kind of support group is good. A group of people doing a similar challenge, or a friend who exercises with you.
The best support comes from accountability. Ask someone to be your accountability buddy if you don’t have a coach.
You tell them your mini goal and how you are going to achieve it and then report back to them at a pre-arranged time with your progress. This really does work.
Put your SMART goal up on Facebook for all your friends to see and then keep reporting your progress, once friends colleagues and family understand what you are doing and what it means to you they will be interested in your progress and enquire about it and encourage you. You won’t want to let them down will you?
Keep a journal and regularly look back through it and see how far you’ve come, or better still start a blog an online journal.
Part 5 Video
As well as planning your goals and mini goals, you also need to plan your rewards, you need to plan how you will celebrate your successes.
At the end of the week or month when you reach a SMART mini goal how will you celebrate?
How will you celebrate when you reach your SMART Goal?
Obviously we don’t celebrate with poor food and drink choices, but you may feel a nice meal out meal out to be appropriate or a spar day, for mini goals it may be to treat yourself to a book or just a few hours ME-TIME relaxing on your own, but whatever you choose, if you’ve reached your goals you will deserve it and planning it in advance will help with motivation.
You’ve reached your SMART Goal, you’ve celebrated, so what now?
You need a plan, that’s either a maintenance plan or a new SMART Goal.
It’s also time to think about helping someone else.
Hopefully you’ve learned a lot on this journey to your SMART Goal.
Things about how to plan, how to motivate yourself to stay on course, how to get support and maybe things that you wouldn’t do next time. So maybe now it’s time to pass on your knowledge, invite someone you care about to join our community and follow this little goal setting course.
You could be their ACCOUNTABILITY BUDDY!
Download the work sheet here.
GOALS WORK SHEET