How to set and achieve your goals.
So many of us use the new year to set goals and challenges for ourselves as a way of starting fresh with clear objectives for where we want to be in a years time.
Many of us choose financial or fitness goals and some will try to drop bad habits like smoking or drinking too much.
Unfortunately, many of these new year goals fall by the wayside as we get busy or we forget about them as other things take our focus during our day to day lives. We end up going another year without losing weight, getting healthier, or without saving X amount in the bank or credit union.
How can we break the cycle of failing to hit those targets or achieving those goals?
Make this year different
To give yourself the best opportunity to succeed with your new years resolutions, you need a strategy.
There are innumerable goals that people want to achieve and equally there are as many ways to strategize for goal setting, some more effective than others.
You can search Pinterest and find things you want to be able to afford or buy. Google search for places you want to travel to and collect these on a virtual or physical collage board.
This can be great for idea generation, so many of us use this to set goals or provide some temporary motivation. However, without a step by step plan, your goal for that dream car, holiday or business plan won’t be achieved.
SMART goal setting
Specific, choose a goal that you know exactly what it is. For example you might want to save €1000 this year, run a 5km race or lose 10kg.
Measurable, once you have your goal in mind set out characteristics for defining it. If it is to lose weight a goal of 10% of your bodyweight could be ideal as a target.
Achievable, I think we would all love to be able to save €1 million each month of the new year. I know I certainly won’t be able to do that, but if you goal is to save some money, ensure your goal is achievable. Don’t ask too much from yourself you still will need to eat, pay rent or mortgage and have money for bits and pieces.
Realistic, a goal should be reasonably challenging otherwise there’s no sense of achievement. Yet they still need to fall within the range of your abilities or potential.
Timeframe, depending on the new year resolution or goal you may need longer to achieve it than a year. Some tasks are important but only need a week or so to achieve, should be incorporated into a larger goal.
Application of SMART goal setting
If your new years resolution is to become fitter and healthier, have realistic and achievable goals with specific targets.
For example, if you want to lose some weight, or start training regularly you should assess what is manageable and healthy.
If you aren’t sure what is the right direction or if you’re concerned your goal isn’t possible. You can hire a coach, personal trainer or better yet you could try a unique form of online coaching with me, Jeff. If you need some more help, or ave any questions about how to get started please email me directly (Jeff@graduatefitness.com).
Once you have your target, goal or new year resolution finalized. It should be measurable, realistic and achievable you are well on your way to achieving them!
There are many theories in regard to habit formation. James Clears’ book, Atomic Habits, has a great breakdown of how to create and maintain good habits. It also explains the intricacies of how habits form and affect us.
Before I get into how to set up habits to achieve your goals understand that you already have in place good and bad habits. A reminder that the goal you set should be achievable and realistic. This doesn’t mean that it should be easy, but something that you can incorporate into your current situation and build upon so that you can achieve it.
Here are the four steps to creating a new or better habit, to achieve the SMART goal set.
Make it obvious / Make it unavoidably part of your day or schedule
In atomic habits rule one is to make the habit obvious. If you have a goal to lose weight, there are two parts to that, nutrition and activity. If you have a Fitbit or smart watch, it often displays steps as well as the time.
A daily goal of 10,000 steps means that as you check the time you’re regularly reminding yourself of your target. For healthier eating you may want to eat more fruit. Having a fruit bowl on the table or by where you drink your coffee makes it obvious.
Make it attractive / incorporate it into something enjoyable
When you try to eat healthier it is better to make small changes to eating habits. If you enjoy eating cereal in the morning, adding fruit can substantially improve the quality of the meal.
This is one way of incorporating more fruit into your diet without dramatic changes. Continuing on that thread of avoiding radical changes is the following rule.
Make it easy / build it into what you’re doing already
I really enjoy powerlifting and building my training around that makes it easier for me to be consistent. If my goal is to lean out and lose fat, cardio may be more efficient form of exercise. But in my case I don’t enjoy it as much and I struggle to adhere to that plan. Cardio is more efficient, but altering my program slightly and manipulating calories to lean out is more suitable because I enjoy that routine already.
Make it satisfying / meaningful
If a goal is meaningful it can sustain you through challenging times. It is likely that we will fail in maintaining our habits but if you remain focused on your goal you can reset and re-engage in your efforts.
One way of making healthier eating satisfying is by saving the money we would spend on fast food. You can decide to put it towards a new outfit or holiday that celebrates your success. As you see your savings grow you are reinforcing the habit with the satisfaction of your progress.
SMART Goals and Habits
Once you have your goal that satisfies your SMART goal setting protocol, you can turn your focus onto the habits required to achieve it.
You are a human being, be compassionate with yourself and each day brings different challenges. So while it can be disappointing when we don’t perfectly achieve what we set out to do on a daily basis… Try, Try and Try again… This is the only way you will manage to overcome the obstacles in the way of your objectives.
Stay focused on your SMART goal and make consistent efforts to implement habits or routines that build towards it.
If your goal involves health and fitness, it can improve your chances of success to have a coach to guide you. If you want to learn more click the link below the image.
Journaling has many benefits for clearing your mind, tracking progress and also staying on track. If you are interested in picking up a journal specific to your training goal you can find them here in our store.
One of my favourites is our 5×5 strength training journal.