Tuesday, May 18, 2010

SMART goal setting.

Are you meeting your goals?

This is a question that is often on my mind. Hey, wait a minute; I’m getting ahead of myself.

Are you setting goals? Do you know how to set goals? I have found that all my greatest successes were from a calculated plan. Luck very rarely just happens. As the old saying goes, “You make your own luck!” And luck is easier to manufacture when you set goals. I have always had my own ways for setting goals but I ran across this fantastic acronym – SMART.

Specific –

You have heard this before. The goal has to be specific. You cannot say I want to be healthier or faster or wealthier. That won’t cut it. A specific goal will answer the basic questions of: What do you want to achieve? Why do you want to achieve this? How are you going to achieve this?

One other important aspect of the initial goal setting is to ask yourself, “Is this my goal?” You may ultimately have success but it will be much easier (and gratifying) if it is your goal.

Measurable –

The goal must be measurable. This is how you gauge your progress. This is how you know that you are going in the right direction. This can be weight on a scale, inches around your waste or seconds in a foot race. If you are using the goal to establish a new habit then this is paramount – number of time to the gym in a week, fruits and veggies in your diet, miles per week, etc. Count it, measure it, weight it – achieve it!

Attainable –

Many goals seem unobtainable. However, almost all goals can be achieved if you break them up into steps. These small “progressive goals” will allow you to have success. And these successes will keep you motivated.

I use the term comfortably hard all the time. For me this is an effort that is challenging but not drop-dead difficult. I think that this is the sweet spot on many things – training, goals, etc. If the effort is too difficult you will give up – if not today then soon. It is not a question of will power, discipline or determination.

Losing two pounds a week is better than saying a need to lose 100 pounds now. You are not instantly going to drop 10 inches off of your waist but maybe an inch or two this month is achievable. You are not going to go from the couch to a Boston BQ by this weekend.

Success builds on success.

Realistic –

Your goals need to be just out of reach. If they are too close then they are not a challenge and do not have the necessary value to motivate. On the other hand, they must be realistic – we are talking about goals not dreams and fantasies. None of us are going to the Olympics (except as spectators) and none of us are going to have the fitness magazine (read – airbrushed) beach bodies.

How do you run a sub-18 minute 5k? First you run an 18:15 and then work really, really hard. Be realistic.

Timely –

You must have a time frame of your goals. Without a since of urgency the goal will not have priority. You will think that you can miss this workout or eat that piece of cake. After all you have forever …

Putting these steps into practice and you will achieve your goals – it is just a matter of time.


Matty O said...

Great post. I agree with it, especially how do you run a sub 18 5k. When is your pump and run?

TRI-james said...

The pump and run is next Friday - 05/28 at 5:30 PM.

I hit a new high this morning.

Jon said...

great post!

lindsay said...

i think my hardest two to follow are attainable and realistic... :) on one hand it's good to aim high, but on the other it can get a little frustrating when it seems like you just aren't getting there. (even if i also have "intermediate" goals) ahh the trouble of running...


Cool Post, I like “You make your own luck!”

Gordie Howe once said "The harder I work, the luckier I get"

vgreen said...

Cool jersey.