It’s that time of year again! When goal setting becomes more important and we begin to think about what we hope to achieve in the next year (365 days).
Unfortunately, many people have a really hard time setting goals and sticking to them. This happens for many reasons, but often it is because we have set too many goals OR haven’t been as realistic as we could about the goals we make.
Take a look at the information below on how to make more specific goals and a few tips for staying on track.
Goals can be as simple as “to eat healthier” or “to exercise more often,” however not much thought has gone into the details. It’s helpful to think a bit deeper into how you plan to do this, is it realistic with my current lifestyle, and when do I hope to accomplish this by.
SMART Goals help guide you through this process. Each letter corresponds with a topic to consider. For example, S stands for specific. So, what specifically are you going to do? Read on to learn about what the other letters mean.
Specific : What are you going to do?
Measurable: Make sure your goal is measurable. This could include how many days a week you would like to exercise, or the amount of weight you hope to lose, or the days a week you hope to cook at home.
Achievable: When setting goals, be as realistic as possible about what you want to achieve. Many people have a very big goal, but it feels almost impossible to reach. Try to make whatever goal you set for yourself something that you feel is very realistic. You can always modify your goal later in the year once you’ve established your new habit!
Relevant: Are my actions going to directly help me achieve my ultimate goal?
Time: Set a deadline for when you would like your goal to be achieved.
Here is an slightly modified example of a SMART Goal for “to exercise more often” inspired by the website It’s All You Boo.
S: Starting this Monday, I will focus on losing 15 pounds through exercise and eating healthier.
M: Going to the Gym, Walking, or being active at least 3 days a week for 15 minutes or more. I plan to weigh myself every Friday until I reach my goal.
A: I will break my bad habit of watching TV after work, and instead set aside time to move my body through exercise and activity. I can easily prioritize a 5 minute walk during a work break. I will bring more lunches to work from home rather than always eating out. I can do this with the help of my accountability partner and coworkers. I will start small with 5 minute walks and increase exercise and activity from there.
R: Yes, slowly increasing my exercise and eating healthier will help me reach my goal of losing 15 pounds in 4 months.
T: I would like to reach my goal in 4 months, but if it takes longer that is okay.
When we focus on too many goals at once, or make too many changes to accomplish a goal all at once, the life changes can feel very overwhelming and all consuming. Try reaching your goal in phases throughout the year!
If you are hoping to exercise 5 days a week for at least 30 minutes, try beginning with 5 or 10 minute walks 3 days a week. This way, you have begun making progress towards your goal without putting unnecessary stress on yourself. You have 365 days to achieve your goal, take the time to make this a lifestyle change.
Take the time to think through anything and everything that could get in the way of you achieving your goals. This will give you the opportunity to think through solutions to these potential challenges.
For example, what happens when you get sick, what if you don’t reach your goal that week, or what if you hit traffic on your way home from work?
By exploring these challenges and having a plan in place for when they do happen, you are setting yourself up for success rather than disappointment.
Be kind to yourself, and give yourself a lot of grace throughout the year. One rough week or even one bad day, doesn’t define your success.
Do your best to get through that challenging experience with as much focus on your goal as you are emotionally and mentally able to, and that is all you can ask of yourself.
You got this! And you have 365 days to accomplish your goal. One day or even 10 days will not make or break you reaching your goals.
Consider joining a bariatric support group or having a friend,family member, or coworker work towards the same goal. Having another person there to help hold you accountable and stay motivated is very helpful.
Having a vision board can be a helpful visual reminder of the “why” behind your goals! If your goal is exercise, you might have images of strong people, someone going for a hike, and even positive words like confidence and strength. Have fun with this one and see what you come up with!