I’ve been in a bit of a health & fitness slump.  After an injury ridden few months I had started to get complacent – a bit of comfort eating here, skipping a work out there.  And all of a sudden my jeans don’t fit anymore.  Worst feeling ever!

Luckily I recently attended a 2 day workshop for my personal training course and I was reminded how much easier it is to be healthy when you actually have a goal!

When you set effective goals, you will achieve more. Goals provide focus, enhance productivity, bolster self-esteem, and increase commitment. When setting a goal, clearly outline the series of steps for achieving it to stay on track and reduce overwhelm. Make your goals S.M.A.R.T. – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. With practice, you will find that you are able to achieve more than you thought you could.

Consider the following as you set your goals:

Is this goal Specific?

Be as detailed as possible. The more information you supply, the more accurate the results will be.

Include the following:

Who is involved?

What do you want to accomplish?

When?

Where?

Why?

Which requirements and constraints exist?

For example, “I want to exercise more” is not specific enough and feels unmanageable. However, “I want to go to the gym at least three times a week starting December 1st” is more specific and defined, which will allow you to take actionable steps towards reaching the target goal.

Is this goal Measurable?

Establish criteria to measure progress. How will you know when the goal is achieved? Create a checklist of tasks to get done and check off each item as it is accomplished.

Is this goal Attainable?

When you clearly identify your goal, you develop the attitudes, abilities, and skills to attain it successfully. We often get caught up in what we think we should be doing instead of going after our core desires. Make sure your goals align with your future vision and authentic self.

Is this goal Realistic?

You must be willing and able to work toward your goal. How committed are you? Have you done something similar in the past? What do you need to do to achieve the goal?

Be honest with yourself about your available time and energy and plan accordingly. And, make sure your goal is challenging enough to inspire and motivate you.

Is this goal Timely?

Anchor your goal with a deadline and mark each deadline in your planner to stay on track.

Write it down!

The act of writing down makes thoughts real and ideas concrete. When writing out goals, use positive language for a positive outcome – work for what you want, not what you want to leave behind.

I’m about to practice what I preach – here is my goal. I would like to lose 5 cm off my belly by Christmas day.

What’s your goal?