Are Your Goals SMART Goals?

Goals… we all set them, some we achieve, some we do not. Some we borrow from others, without much thought, some we borrow the idea, but make it our own. We at times really beat ourselves up when we fail to reach our goals. Is it us and our inabilities? Maybe not. 
How we set our goals is more important than what our goal is. As some of you know, my day job is in community and public health. In this field, goal setting is a very important task, it helps get or fail to get funding, depending on how the goals are laid out. 
The acronym SMART is used in goal setting. In order to make the goals achievable, they need to be SMART:  
Specific: straightforward and state what you want to have happen, the What, Why, and HOW, i.e. lose ten pounds through exercise and eating healthy
Measurable: concrete criteria for measuring progress of the goal: the 10 lbs, or 1.5 lbs per week, etc.
Attainable: Make sure the goal is one that will stretch you slightly and make you work for it, so that you have a sense of accomplishment, but make sure it is still attainable. Losing 10 lbs in 1 week is most likely not attainable and when you fail to reach the goal, you will feel disappointed and frustrated. Setting the goal to lose 10 lbs in 2 months is attainable at just over 1 lb a week, which is more along the healthy weight loss range.
Realistic: Make sure the goal is something you can do and want to do. Often times people decide to give up something, in so doing, that complete restriction, causes frustration and sometimes, failure. Saying ‘I will never eat chocolate again’ when you truly enjoy chocolate is not realistic. Setting a goal to eat 2 pieces of fruit a day may be more realistic for you. Another example is setting a goal of working out seven days a week when you have a very hectic and busy schedule that makes this goal difficult, perhaps, if you already work out 3 days setting a goal to increase your workouts to 4 or 5 days is realistic.
Timely: set the time-frame for the goal and make sure it is measurable, attainable and realistic.
These five components can make or break your goal success and as you can see, all interconnect.
Often goals are set as: I will lose X lbs. sometimes this is stated as: I will lose 50 lbs in 5 months. Well, that is specific and measurable, but perhaps attempting to lose 10 lbs a month is not realistic or attainable, so if you only lose 5 in the first month, you are behind the 8ball in reaching this goal.
Setting a goal, and laying out the plan (these steps are sometimes called objectives) helps you determine if the goal is one that is SMART and one you can succeed at. Who wants to continuously set goals and fail?
Setting goals like: I will lose 15 lbs in 3 months, is SMART. The details, measures, and time are there, 5 lbs a month is a realistic, healthy and attainable goal. Another example: I will hold a plank for 2 minutes within 9 weeks, gradually increasing my time by 10 seconds per week from 30 seconds at the start. 
Setting goals of running a race, losing weight, etc. without the SMART components leaves the goal up in the air and easy to abandon. Without knowing what you are specifically working towards, and making sure it is attainable will keep you motivated and focused on the goal(s) at hand. The same goes for “borrowing” other people’s goals without reviewing the goal to see if it is SMART for YOU! Remember, you and that person are 2 different people physically, mentally, socially, fitness levels, etc. they may be able to achieve the goal, or achieve it earlier than you. Be inspired by others and their goals, but remember to make the goal your own! 
So… looking at your goals, are they SMART goals? Share some of your SMART goals with me, I’d love to hear them!