With the famous RFT 6 week transformation challenge upon us, I wanted to take the time to highlight the importance of having goals that are S.M.A.R.T
What does that mean? Lets break it down:
Goals should be maps to where you want to go. If you have vague, ambiguous goals, you’re not going to end up where you want. The power of SMART goals lies in its simple formula. Goals should be smart, measurable, attainable, realistic/relevant and time-bound.
Goals are really important to set a destination for where you’re trying to go. A famous quote from Yogi Berra states, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re going to end up somewhere else,” right? The reality is it’s true and we need to make sure that we’re setting the right goals. That’s where smart goals come into play. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and they’re also time-bound.
Let’s start with the S which stands for specific. Now when we set a goal we need to be very specific about what we want. If your goal is just kind of ambiguous you never really know whether or not you achieve it. As an example, we often hear people say they would like to lose weight when asked what their health and fitness goal is. Thats a good goal but not very specific. Whereas, “I want to lose 15kg by January 1st” is a lot better! That goal actually has some specificity around it so you know exactly where you’re headed. When you’re setting goals, make sure that it’s something very specific that you want.
Now that you have a specific goal you need to have a way to measure that goal. Again, you set that goal: I want to lose 15kg by January 1st. So, the measure of that goal is your weight loss. What your weight is now, what you want it to be by January 1st, and then you can actually measure how you’re getting towards that goal. You can manage what you measure. That’s why it’s important to have those numbers attached to that goal, so you have a specific goal that you can measure, so you know where you’re going, if you’re heading in the right direction or not. Because if you can’t measure it, how do you really know which course you’re on. The measurement is actually what helps plot that course. It helps plot the direction of whether or not you’re actually headed towards your goal destination or not.
The A stands for attainable. Now, I’m all for shooting for big goals and shooting for big goals that stretch you, but they also need to be attainable. They need to be something that you can grasp, something that you can achieve. I have set big goals for myself. I have set goals that seem unrealistic to some, but I always know that they’re attainable. These goals may have to stretch me, and if I’m going to get to that goal, I’m going to have to put in the extra effort but I always make sure that the goal is attainable. A lot of times we set these goals, “I want to lose 20kg in 2 weeks.” Ok, so that might be an exaggeration, but you get my point. It’s just not attainable. Not in a healthy way of course.
Now we’re at R and R stands for realistic and sometimes it also stands for relevant. When you’re looking at these goals, make sure that they’re realistic and relevant. One, do they make sense for your desire and does it makes sense for you to go after this specific goal? Is it realistic? Is it something, again, that’s attainable. Is it something that you can achieve, that is able to be done. If not, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
The last letter is T and it’s time-bound. You want to make sure that you can end this goal process, that it’s restricted within a time because if there’s no end point the goal really can never be achieved because you don’t know if you’ve arrived. Also, by putting yourself into a timeframe, it’s going to help restrict you and put a little bit of pressure on you and some good eustress. Not stress, eustress, which is good stress and it can push you into doing things and stretching yourself a little bit more than you maybe would have if you hadn’t put yourself in those time constraints.
Making sure that your goals have a beginning and an end allows you to test and see what you’ve done and see if it was effective and help you go back and say, okay, well, maybe we didn’t get it all the way but this is maybe why. As we set up our next set of goals maybe we can readjust and see if we can’t hit it this time around.
So be sure to set yourself SMART goals. Not only just for during a challenge, but anytime you want to see a change in your health and fitness, or even in business. A SMART goal is never out of place!