Have you ever tried to start a new habit? You may have started strong, but you slowly went back to how you did things before. Starting and adhering to something new is not always an easy endeavor, but is not impossible. Most of the time we do not set ourselves up for success because we jump right in with a plan besides “do it”. Before taking the leap of faith, consider the following tactics that may save you from giving up on the outcome you set out to accomplish. S.M.A.R.T goals are used to help you clearly identify your goals and the process that it will take to reach them. After reading this blog you will understand how to clearly identify your main goal, and break it down into smaller more achievable tasks.
Example of a S.M.A.R.T Goal:
"I want to lose 30 lbs in the next three months."
This goal can be broken down into the short term goals of 2.5 lbs per week for the next three months.
Specific - 30 lbs
Measurable - Record weight each week
Achievable - It is safe to lose around 2 lbs per week
Realistic - 100 lbs in three months would not be realistic, but 30 lbs is.
Time Bound - 3 months
Short and Long Term Goals
Now although S.M.A.R.T goals are very useful they are just scratching the surface of the goal setting process. There are short term and long term goals; short term goals is losing 2.5 lbs a week, whereas the long term goal would be losing 30 lbs in 3 months. It is important to create and measure short term goals and be excited when you hit those goals. Losing 2.5 lbs a week is something that is achievable in a short period of time and makes you feel good when you achieve it, celebrate this! Every time you lose that 2.5 lbs it is like a small reward that helps encourage you to continue to push for the big 30 lbs. Without these small reassurances it can be easy to fall out of a habit because there is no way to quantify the progress.
So now you have S.M.A.R.T, short and long term goals set to go, right?
Have you ever heard the saying, success is a bunch of small things done well? This means that you must take action in your day to day that allows time for your new changes to become a habit. This may mean you create a new schedule to accommodate the new habit and truly ingrain this into your lifestyle and schedule. If you want to lose 30 lbs it’s imperative that you exercise and eat right; meaning you may have to change your schedule to fit in time to meal prep and pack your food the night before, set out your workout clothes before you go to bed, and actually go to bed early enough so that you can get 8 hrs of sleep every night. You must plan for success, don’t just hope for it.
Be ready for the obstacles and be ready when you encounter them! Write out 3 to 4 foreseeable obstacles at the start that might make it difficult for you to reach your goals. Once you have written out what may slow you down, for each one write down what you will do and/or how you can handle this hurdles you will surely face. This way when you come to that sticking point that might throw you off, you are not surprised and can take action immediately, allowing you to keep chugging along like nothing happened.
No Hitting the Back Burner:
There it is! You now have some key concepts that have been shown to be helpful for many people. Be sure that you review your S.M.A.R.T, short, and long term goals often, keep them right in front of you so they do not hit the back burner. Put your goals on a calendar or write them on a mirror, a place that you see daily. When you reach a goal reward yourself with something! Your personal award can be anything from a sticker to going out to lunch; whatever makes you feel good. Be sure that your personal rewards positively affects your ultimate goal. Making sure your rewards align with your end goal is super important to being successful. Just because you lost 10 lbs, going out for ice-cream sundaes to celebrate may not be the best reward option and may throw you off track and make you crave other non supportive foods later. Keep your goals close and be proud of yourself for every accomplishment.
Find a way to keep yourself accountable.
Post on Social Media your weekly progress
Find a friend to do it with you
Online coaching with a professional coach
Fitness support groups
Meal Trackers on your phone
Ready Set GO!
Below you will find an example set for long and short goals. Stop the yo-yo pattern, when you start your new habit use the tactics you just read about to help you get there! Full speed ahead let's do this!! The following information is an example page of how to map short and long term goals. Take action with a PLAN this time, you got this!
Long Term Goal:
Steps/Actions to Take
How you will Overcome:
Steps/Actions to Take
How you will Overcome:
Author: Courtney Gagne
Haff, G. G., & Triplett, T. N. (2016). NSCA’s essentials of strength and conditioning. (4th ed.).
Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.