No matter how big or small your goals are the key to success is to set SMART goals. Whether you plan to lose 5 pounds or 50 pounds, walk a mile or run a marathon, planning is essential and this is where smart planning comes into it.
What are Smart Goals?
Well, the Smart Goals idea first came to light in the Corporate business world but the principles can be applied to any aspect of life.
Smart Goals can work especially well in the world of fitness and weight loss.
So, the letters of SMART are a catchy acronym, that is easy to remember and apply to goal setting. So, let’s have a look, in image form of what those letters stand for.
What are SMART goals: The Letter ‘S’
The first letter of SMART, ‘S’ stands for specific.
Research shows that a specific health or fitness goal has a much larger chance of being accomplished than a more general goal.
So, to help you set a specific goal, you must reply to the six “W” questions:-
- Who does the goal involve?
- What is the purpose and advantages of achieving the goal?
- What do I want to achieve?
- Where is the location?
- What is the time frame?
- What is necessary to achieve the goal and what (if any) are the restrictions?
General and Specific Goals
Let’s take a look at a quick example. So, you are fed up of being unfit and fairly out of shape. Now a general goal would be to say to yourself ‘I need to get in shape’.
Hence, the goal is set but you have no specifics on quite how you will manage to achieve this.
Looking at the questions listed above we can now match up getting into shape with specific actions.
An Example of How to Set SMART Goals ‘S’
- Join the health club on Baker Street
- Appoint a personal trainer
- Work out 4 times a week between 17:30 and 19:00 after work
- Some evenings this will not be possible as I have art class, so will need to change one night a week to a morning session before work.
- The advantages will be that I will be fitter, more toned and beach-ready in six months for that lovely holiday.
What are SMART Goals? The Letter ‘M’
The Second letter of SMART, ‘M’ stands for Measurable.
When you measure or ‘track’ your progress, setbacks and improvements this really helps you to stay on track and reach your deadlines.
Research shows that tracking your progress helps improve your chances of success. Furthermore, the more often that you monitor your progress the greater the effect.
So, actually recording, and especially, publically recording your progress increases success even further. So, get blogging or post your progress on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and bask in the praise and affirmation of your friends and family.
To set how measurable your goals are you can ask yourself some of the questions below:-
- How much?
- In what time spam?
- What is the goal?
An Example of How to Set SMART Goals ‘M’
So, taking the example we will use throughout this post if your goal is, in general, to lose weight and get in shape then below are the questions that you may need to ask.
- What is my ideal weight? You can find out your ideal weight here
- OR what is my BMI and what should it be?
- How much weight do I need to lose?
- How much weight per week do I aim to lose
- What time span would I ideally like to lose the weight
- What exercise regime am I going to start? Join the gym, jog 3 to 4 times a week for half an hour, etc.
- How often am I going to record progress (every 3 days, once a week, etc.)
- Where am I going to record my progress, for my own private records, on Facebook, Instagram, blog post, etc?
The Letter ‘A’
The third letter of SMART, ‘A’ stands for Attainable.
So, using our example of losing weight and getting fit the goal needs to be attainable or achievable.
The ideal weight loss is around 1 to 2 pounds or 0.5 to 1 kilogram per week according to research. Furthermore, many research studies show that more rapid weight loss leads to regaining the lost weight (and possibly more) in the long run.
Thus, when setting goals, start small and achievable. Don’t try and aim for your ultimate goal or set yourself unrealistic goals. This only sets you up to fail and decreases your motivation.
Click the link for some GREAT motivational tips.
An Example of How to Set SMART Goals ‘A’
So, for example, with the same goal in mind ‘to lose weight and get fit’
- Don’t say to yourself, ‘I’m going to lose 20 kilograms in 3 months’ but rather ‘I’m going to lose between one and two pounds this week’
- Monitor your progress regularly and give yourself small rewards for every goal attained
- For exercising, don’t say I’m going to run 3 kilometres today. Start slowly and do a 15 to 20-minute fast walk three days a week
- Gradually build up day by day and week by week until you are jogging 30 to 40 minutes per day and so on.
- I know it’s a cliché but small steps are the key to success. Break down the goal into doable chunks rather than looking at the whole.
- Think about time. So, for example, don’t expect that you’re going to be at the gym for three hours an evening if you finish work at 6 pm and have other commitments in the evening
- Finances are important too. If you don’t have spare cash, don’t overstretch yourself for that gym membership and personal trainer. You can incorporate an exercise program into your daily routine. There are many fitness videos that you can do in the comfort of your own lounge. Walk to the shops rather than take the car.
What are SMART Goals? The Letter ‘R’
The fourth letter of SMART, ‘R’ stands for Relevant or Realistic.
Although this section applies more to the corporate world it can still apply to weight loss and fitness goals.
There is a cross over with the attainable section here. Is your goal relevant and realistic?
For example, if you have a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) do you really need to lose another 10 kgs? Is it more a matter of changing to a more healthy diet and starting an exercise regime?
The Letter ‘T’
The fifth and final letter of SMART, ‘T’ stands for Timely or Time-Bound.
The final letter of SMART stands for a time frame.
With no time frame at all, there is absolutely no sense of urgency. So, if you want to lose 20 lbs when do you want to lose it by? The word ‘someday’ will not work.
However, if you anchor your goal within a specific time frame, say by the May 1st (6 months from now) I want to lose 20 pounds you have set your unconscious mind into motion.
‘T‘ can also stand for ‘tangible‘. This means that you can experience the goal with one of your senses like taste, touch, smell, sight or hearing. For example, after three or four months of weight loss and fitness training, you should be able to see and feel the improvements in your body and health.
Summary of SMART Goal Setting
Let’s do a quick recap.
For ultimate success in goal setting, you need to think Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based.
So, get yourself a journal and start writing your goals.
Furthermore, you could journal your feelings, food intake and exercise as you go. Research has shown that journaling can REALLY improve your chances of weight loss.
- How to Avoid Food Cravings
- Motivation for Weight Loss
- How to Lose Weight Fast: The Halls 8-Step Plan to Weight Loss
- Weight Loss Tips: 5 of the Best
- Weight Watchers
- Why am I not losing weight?
More Reading on halls.md
- Full Index of ALL our Weight Loss Posts
- ALL our Articles on Weight Loss Diets
- Diets for Diseases
- ALL our articles on Anxiety Disorders
- Calculators, height and weight and BMI articles
Return to Home