What You can Expect:
Five Minutes reading time
Learn why the goals needs clarity and how SMART goals help
Learn about SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely)
Learn how to implement SMART goals.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. - Benjamin Franklin.
Welcome to part three of how to actually achieve your fitness goals.
This series was inspired after I read in Forbes that less than 8% of us ever achieve our New Years Resolutions. 8%!!
Part one was about setting your goal and finding your why.
Part two was about finding out where you are in relation to your goal.
These parts were all about finding out why you want your goal and what's been holding you back in the past.
This can be enough to completely change for some people.
You hear of the people who have family die from cancer.
With one thought then the person decides to never put a cigarette towards their mouth ever again.
But how many people know that smoking is bad for them yet still smoke.
How many people know being over weight is not good for their health.
Yet 40% of us are over weight or obese.
Unfortunately there is a big difference between knowing and doing.
Don’t get me wrong , your why is vitally important.
Think of it as your beacon when times are tough.
It will guide you when motivation is not there.
For the 92% of us however who never achieve any resolutions,
a lot more is needed.
Part three is all about clarifying the goals set.
Here it's time to build confidence to take action. This section is all about SMART goals.
Wanting to lose weight is a nice thought. The idea of finally dropping that extra few pounds,. can have us day dreaming into the future.
Visions of that cocktail in hand while sunning yourself with plenty of the body on show.
Unfortunately most often the goals we set out are extremely vague. Life can interrupt the best of plans. Work can cause stress, kids can get sick and motivation can waver.
Eventually though, days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months. Eventually we are two stone over weight and you realise a change is needed.
The mind needs focus.
Think of the 100s of thoughts, fears and aspirations that cross our minds every day.
Without focus and a clear plan, fitness goals can get lost in the noise.
Without that clarity the mind won’t differentiate wanting to lose weight,
with wanting to clean the dishes, or having to fix the washing machine.
“Vague Goals Produce Vague Results”- Jack Canfield
Any lack of clarity creates resistance in the mind.
This is one of the main reasons we procrastinate and take no action towards any meaningful goal.
If we don’t clearly define what we actually want to achieve, the mind will automatically judge it to be too difficult and want to delay or avoid.
We never procrastinate and put off the things we enjoy or we feel competent in.
No one ever procrastinates going on Facebook for example.
It’s easy and you feel comfortable on it.
If you’re not completely sure of what to do in the gym then you’ll face resistance.
If you don’t eat vegetables too often,
the mind will make them feel like an almighty chore to eat
David Allen in his book “Getting things done” speaks about clarifying any task,
into tiny individual actions,
This reduces the anxiety to take action towards a goal.
This is where SMART goals come in.
Specific, Measurable, Attainable , Realistic, Timely- an acronym made popular in the business world.
SMART goals are a key step from turning a goal of losing weight,
from something mystical into something concrete and clear.
David Allen speaks about wanting his mind “like water”.
Making goals SMART has a number of benefits:
1. Focuses the mind on exactly what needs to be done.
2. Builds confidence by laying out a clear manageable process
3. Reduces stress and anxiety related to a goal because of the increased clarity.
4. Places Priority on to the task
With SMART goals goals are brought to the front of mind and no longer ignored.
The resistance begins to break down and finally you can feel empowered to actually take action.
Let’s create a SMART goal for Jack in the previous parts who wants to lose some weight for a wedding in a couple of months.
Jack has his goal and knows where he is in relation to his strengths and weaknesses.
He wants to lose weight for the confidence and health benefits,
he hasn’t been able to enjoy in recent times.
Rather than having a vague goal like “I want to lose weight”, you make it more specific. “I want to lose 10 pounds and fit into my suit I bought last year”.
It’s important to have some sort of way to measure progress towards the goal.
In this instance the measure can be the scale weight or some sort of tape measure or clothes in this case.
Actionable / Attainable
It’s important we set a goal where we can actually take steps towards reaching them.
Someone shouldn’t be setting any major cycling goals if they don’t have a bike.
So don’t be expecting to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger if you’re not planning on joining a gym.
The goal needs to be realistic. Starting a fitness regime and wanting to lose three stone within the next month is great but is it actually realistic?
Refer to Part 2 on your reality if you need more guidance here.
A great rule of thumb is to set a goal you think is realistic in your mind and then subtract 20% from it.
In this instance, the lofty goal is reduced into something even easier for the mind.
It’s important that the goal has a time frame in which to be carried out.
This will focus the mind while also keeping you accountable.
Again just like the realistic goals,
set yourself the time you want your goal to be reached and again add 20-30% to it.
:Here's how Jack would go about making his goals SMART.
As opposed to “ I want to lose weight” You can make it Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely.
Example SMART Goal
For this example we can say, I want to lose 15 pounds and fit into my Hugo Boss suit in the next 15 weeks for the wedding in December 25th.
Now you’re on to something.!!! The thought “I’ve to lose weight” is no longer gnawing at the back of your mind.
Now you have that clarity, that purpose.
You have an exact amount of weight to lose in an exact amount of time that’s actually reasonable.
It’s this clear focus that you now can take the action necessary towards a goal.
With your why and your SMART goals, you know exactly where you are and exactly where you want to go. Part four will be all about the doing.
Specific tools and tactics that can be utilized to achieve your fitness goals once and for all.
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the one’s we’ve been waiting for. We are the Change we seek”- Barack Obama
If you found this article helpful make sure you read part one and part two to set yourself to actually reach your fitness goals. You can also sign up to my newsletter below where I send lots of bonus material.