In today’s blog, we are going to pick up from a recent blog on Change and talk about Goal Setting.
Setting goals is a major part of making health and fitness changes, and SMART goals help you work out exactly what you need to do. If you have SMART goals, you are more likely to achieve them.
SMART goals stand for the following:
S pecific – What exactly is the goal? What do I want to happen & why?
E.g., I want to lose 5 kilos
M easureable – How will I know I have achieved my goal?
E.g., I’ll have reached my goal when I weigh 60 kgs
A chievable – Do I have the attitudes and skills to achieve my goal? How can I create some manageable steps to achieve my goal?
E.g., ., I can achieve this goal if I exercise 3-4 times per week and focus on my eating
R ealistic – Is this goal realistic or do-able and am I able to do it at this time?
E.g., I am physically healthy so I should be able to reach my goal
T ime-scaled – By when should my goal be realistically achieved?
E.g., I want to drop this weight by the time we go to Thailand, which is in 4 months time.
Keeping a food diary of what you are eating during the day as well as a physical activity diary where you schedule when you will fit in exercise, are useful tools to help you set SMART goals as they help to measure how you have achieved or will achieve your goal. An app like My Fitness Pal is a good one to help you keep track and set some goals, or if you are “old school” you can use a paper-based food and exercise diary (if you would like one, email me and I can send you one!).
The trouble with goal setting is that often when we are trying to achieve something, especially a health and fitness goal, we often face several obstacles. If you can think of the obstacles that you might come up against early on, you can plan a strategy ahead of time so that they don’t block your path to success.
There are two kinds of obstacles – internal and external.
External obstacles are barriers that exist outside you. For example:
- Not having enough money to pay for your fitness sessions
- Having to work long hours and missing the session times
- Not having the right people around you to help support you (e.g., family members who have bad eating habits and eat junk food in your face!)
- Not having transport to get to the class
- Not having anyone to babysit the kids
Internal obstacles are anything that comes from within you. For example:
- Unhelpful thoughts like ‘This is the way my body is & I can’t change it’, ‘Having a piece of cake is not going to hurt’, ‘I can’t do this, so why bother’ etc
- Unhelpful feelings like embarrassment, anxiousness, disappointment, exhaustion, frustration, fear, or negativity
- Unhelpful behaviours like staying back later at work so that you intentionally miss the session, or pressing the snooze button most mornings etc
Once we know the obstacles that we are likely to face, we need to develop a plan, or strategy, of how you might tackle these.
Remember, don’t try to completely change everything straight away. Make it a gradual process.
- Start with achievable short term goals, and then make longer-term goals.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself by making drastic changes all of a sudden, or if you stuff up once in a while.
You’re more likely to make permanent changes to your health and fitness if you do it gradually and eventually make it part of your lifestyle. And don’t forget to pat yourself on the back for all the positive changes you are making, even the smallest of changes!! Every success or goal achieved, no matter how small is progress. So celebrate every win and reward yourself (in a healthy way!!) to help you stay on track.