With less than 3 weeks remaining of 2022, you might be starting to think about setting yourself some goals for next year.
Before you do though, take a moment to think about the goals you set for yourself this year. Did you achieve them? If not, why not? It may be because you set goals that were unrealistic, too vague, or too overwhelming which caused to you lose motivation to achieve them.
The difference between setting goals and actually achieving them is in the details. The most effective way to set a realistic and effective goal AND to achieve it is to use the SMART approach:
S – SPECIFIC
M – MEASURABLE
A – ATTAINABLE
R – RELEVANT
T – TIME-BOUND
Your goal must be specific rather than general in order to be effective. Setting large, vague goals will not motivate you to achieve them. An ineffective goal would be ‘to get healthy’, for example. There are so many ways to get healthy. How do you want to do it? Is it losing weight? Start exercising? Start including more veggies in your diet? These are all more specific goals, but still too vague. If you want to start exercising for example, what type of exercise do you want to do? How often do you want to do it? You’ll narrow down your goals further by using the rest of the method, but whether you want to lose fat, get stronger or increase your physical fitness, having a good starting point is important. The main question to ask yourself here is:
- What exactly do I want to accomplish?
Measuring progress towards the achievement of your goal is essential. If a goal is not measurable it is impossible to know whether you are making progress towards achieving it or not. Measuring progress helps you stay on track, stay motivated and continue putting in the effort required to reach the ultimate goal. It also allows you to make the necessary changes in case you aren’t making the progress you want. What can’t be measured, can’t be managed! Questions to consider here are:
- Can I measure my progress towards achieving this goal?
- How will I measure my progress?
- How will I know when I have reached my goal?
It must be possible for you to actually achieve your goal, given your resources. Setting unachievable, unattainable goals is pointless and you will only set yourself up for failure and disappointment. We don’t want you to do that! While it can be helpful to set big-picture goals in the long-term, we highly recommend setting smaller more achievable goals to start with to keep you on track. You want to start small and see early wins, because this is what encourages long-term consistency and helps you chip away at those bigger goals without feeling like they are too big or unachievable. For example, you might want to lose 20kg next year. That might seem like a big overwhelming number, but if you break it down into monthly goals it equates to 1.6kg per month which feels a lot more attainable! Ask yourself the following:
- Is this goal achievable with my current resources?
- How exactly will I accomplish this goal?
This is where things get a little tricky. Finding your “why” is easier said than done. Creating a goal with some type of emotional meaning attached to it, like “I want to increase my energy levels so that I can play with my kids”, can help you feel more committed to achieving your goal. Whether you want to feel confident at a big event or just make everyday activities easier for yourself, pinpoint why a goal is important to you. Ask yourself the following:
- What is my deeper ‘why’ for achieving this goal?
- Do I feel strongly about achieving this goal?
A goal must have a deadline. This will provide you with the necessary focus and sense of urgency to make it happen. You should also be honest with yourself about what you’re realistically able to accomplish in a given time frame. Adjust your expectations so they’re in line with your schedule and commitments. Ask yourself the following:
- What is the timeframe I want to achieve this in?
- Is my goal achievable within this timeframe or do I need to reassess?
Whether you want to lose 4kg in eight weeks, be able to do an unassisted pull up in four weeks, or run 5km in under 30 minutes in three weeks, the SMART approach can help you achieve it. Set your goals, write them down, remain consistent, assess your progress, accommodate readjustments where needed – and you will be amazed to find how efficient you are in achieving your health and fitness goals. It’s also great tool for setting goals in other areas of your life too such as career or financial related goals!
Remember to revisit your goals often throughout the year. Don’t be afraid to adjust your goals if they no longer resonate with you. Life is unpredictable, and your goals may change over time. Be flexible and be willing to adapt to new challenges as they arise.
Have a go at setting yourself some effective and realistic goals now using this principle and let’s make sure that 2023 is the year that you finally achieve your goals!
P.s If you want to get a head start on achieving your goals for next year, we’d love to help you! Click here for ways to work with us!