How To Write Smart Goals

writing goals

Because nobody has time for stupid ones 🙂

A goal should scare you a little and excite you A LOT

I know I’m over a month late on making new years resolutions – but that’s a good thing. What’s wrong with New Year’s resolutions? To give you the simple answer, everything.

Do these resolutions sound familiar?

  • “I would like to lose 20 pounds”
  • “More of my money should go into savings”
  • “I want to travel more”
  • “I need to be more active”

Sure, these are all great aspirations and things that a lot of the general public wants. So what’s wrong with them you ask? Still, everything.

When goals are super broad and not definitive, we often just forget about them or just give up. Since I’m definitely NOT a financial advisor or a travel expert, let’s focus on the first and the last goal – let’s make these goals BETTER, ACHIEVABLE, DOABLE.

I absolutely believe in the SMART goal guidelines (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound) and below I’ll put my own twist on these 5 goal setting must haves:

ONE: WHAT DO YOU WANT?

what do you want
the notebook, anyone?

What motivates you? If your goal isn’t motivating, why bother? In order to work towards a change, you have to want it! What does this goal mean to you – why is it important? If weight loss is important, let’s write some achievable goals together.

The more specific, the better!

“I want to lose 20 pounds” is way too broad and I’m left with so many questions. How? When? Why? and so on. Here’s an idea: Write your goal in the middle of a piece of paper and then brainstorm ideas on how to make that happen.

Pick 3 of the methods above and narrow it down. 3 small, specific goals are better than one, large, overwhelming goal. For example, let’s pick the following:

  1. increase water consumption
  2. working out
  3. increase fruits and veggies consumption

Notice, these are all still pretty vague – let’s get even more specific

TWO: MEASURE IT

How will you track your progress? This step is important because we want to track how well we are doing. Without a way to measure, how will you know it’s time to celebrate when something you achieve your goal? We NEED to be able to celebrate!

Our example goals can be rewritten as:

  1. Drink 64 ounces of water a day
  2. Exercise for 30 minutes, 3 days a week
  3. 5 fruits and veggies a day

BOOM. 3 specific, measurable goals. Let’s move on.

THREE: BABY STEPS

I love the determination of a strong willed person. But when it comes to goal setting, just make sure you aren’t setting yourself up for disappointment. The 3 example goals we have written may seem small – and they should! The overall goal is to lose 20# – but it’s going to take some easing in to get there. Teaching your body to make these small changes is a big deal. Attaining smaller goals will not only get you to your main goal quicker, but it will boost your confidence, which is definitely needed to move on to new goals.

PUT IT IN WRITING! The second you write your goals down, they become real. They become tangible. You become responsible. Hang it on your fridge, on your mirror or somewhere where you will see it daily and be reminded. Tell someone! Tell your friends, your family. Talking about your goals is huge – it gets you excited, motivated and that way you can be held accountable.

Make an action plan. How are you going to achieve this? Use a 32 oz water bottle and drink it twice a day. Get up early before work and walk outside for 30 minutes before hitting the shower. Make sure every meal has at least one produce item to get to that 5 per day. Don’t make a goal without having a plan on how you can achieve it.

 

FOUR: KEEP IT REAL

Goals should always be realistic. If you get a 30-minute lunch break and you constantly find yourself working through lunch while spilling soup on your keyboard, then “walking for 30 minutes during your lunch break” is not a relevant goal for you.

Make sure you aren’t setting yourself up for failure before you have even made it through the 5 steps of goal making. You know yourself better than anyone – figure out something sensible for your life.

When writing your goals, use the word WILL. I WILL increase my fiber consumption to 25-35 gm/day. Keep your goals POSITIVE.

FIVE: TIMING IS EVERYTHING

Goals should have an ending time. Think about it, when there is a deadline at work, there is a sense of urgency to finish, right? It should be the same with goals. Let’s update our goal examples with a timeline.

  1. I will drink 64 ounces of water a day – to be achieved by the end of next week and then continued
  2. I will exercise for 30 minutes, 3 days a week – to be achieved and continued by the end of the month
  3. I will eat 5 fruits and veggies a day – to be achieved and continued within the next 2 weeks

Hit your goal last week? Great!! It’s time to celebrate. Tell your friends, tell your family, tell social media that you are now a hydrated human being and you feel great! Hopefully, you can inspire others to do the same!

Didn’t make that goal this month? IT’S OK! Goals are always ongoing and always changing. If it was hard to find time to get 30 minutes of exercise in, start brainstorming new ways to achieve it. Ask someone to walk with you, maybe it’s time to get a gym membership so you can take advantage of the classes or equipment. Try a new approach but PLEASE don’t give up. Just try, try again.

HOMEWORK

Write 3 SMART goals for yourself. TODAY. NOW. If you are stuck, need help or just need encouragement, I’m here for you. Contact me on email or Facebook.

YOU’VE GOT THIS!

–Lindsey