By David Drinks
Welcome back for part 3 of this series to kick off the new year on SMART goal-setting. If you missed parts 1 and 2, you can check them out here:
Last week, I focused on the first key to setting a SMART goal: getting specific. Vagueness in goal-setting is the first pitfall that makes it nearly impossible to achieve your goals.
Once you get specific about your goal, you know what you are trying to achieve, why it is important, and how you will get started on the path to achieving your goal.
That will take you a long way, but there is more to do before we can be sure you have a SMART goal that you are likely to achieve.
The next step is to make it measurable.
"What gets measured gets improved" - Peter Drucker.
The above quote from Peter Drucker is remarkably accurate. It tends to improve if you diligently measure something you are trying to improve. If you do not, it tends to stagnate. Why does this happen?
Measuring something does a couple of things:
It provides a target to focus on.
It also causes you to say, "What needs to change or happen for me to achieve that number?"
It provides objective feedback to know if you are on track.
It provides the impetus to change your actions to create the correct result if you are not on track.
When you are committed to a goal and find a way to measure it, you will immediately start to identify what needs to change or happen in your actions for you to achieve that goal.
Then, once you get started, you will either be on track and keep going or not be on track and make corrections.
Unfortunately, most goals are not measurable.
Most people set goals that sound something like this:
"I will lose weight."
"I am going to exercise more."
"I will be a better parent/spouse/friend."
"I will achieve more work-life balance."
"I want to get healthier."
But none of these goals are quantifiable.
How much weight will you lose? How much more will you exercise? How much time will you put into being a better parent/husband/friend? When exactly will you stop working each day to achieve more work-life balance? And what number are you tracking to indicate that you are getting healthier?
You need to set a goal with a clearly defined measure to know if you are on track. How else will you know if you achieved it? How else will you know if you are off track and need to change your actions?
Part of defining an achievable goal is giving yourself a measure that tells you when you have achieved your goal. It is about making your goal less subjective and more objective.
If you leave your goals in the subjective category - "I'll get better at this, or I'll do more of that" - you have no target to hit, leading to no motivation or objective feedback.
So, how can you measure your goal?
That is easy if it is a weight loss or fat loss goal. Set the number of pounds of body weight or fat you want to lose. Then, measure where you are starting from. (Need help measuring body fat? Check out this InBody device we use at The Med Gym!)
Once you set this target, it is easy to break it down into milestones that let you know if you are on track. You can set a halfway target, a quarterly target, a monthly target, or a weekly target. Whatever makes sense to you and helps keep you motivated.
Then, if you find you are not hitting any of your milestones, you can assess the reason.
You may have slipped away from your original plan and need to recommit to it. Or, your original plan may not have been sufficient to reach your goal, and you need to add something to it.
Either way, you will only know if you are on track or need to adjust when you measure and track your progress.
What if your goal is more challenging to measure than weight loss?
There is always a way to make your goal measurable. And finding a way to measure it can add more direction to help you get on a focused plan.
For example, the goal to be a better parent/spouse/friend needs to be more specific and measurable. How can you measure if you are improving in these relationships? You can identify something that indicates you are moving in your desired direction.
Decide that you will call your friend every month.
Commit to going on a date night every week with your spouse.
Take your child out for some 1:1 time every month.
Invite friends to dinner at your house X number of times this year.
Whatever your desired outcome is, you can find measurable actions that demonstrate if you are moving in the right direction.
So, what is your big goal this year? What areas of improvement in your health, fitness, and life do you want to target?
Get specific on your vision for your goal, why it is important, and what success looks like. Then, set a measurable target or set of actions that will provide motivation and objective feedback.
Do this, and you will be well on your way to achieving your goal!
But we still have a few more things to discuss before we can complete your SMART goal setting, so stay tuned for next week's blog!
P.S. If you identify a health and fitness goal as one of your top priorities this year, we want to help!
One of our expert fitness coaches will sit down with you to walk you through our SMART goal-setting system, help you identify the path to success, and design your ideal exercise and nutrition plan.
Contact us here to schedule a free consultation!