A couple of days ago I was lucky enough to go to a Michael Miller seminar on goals so right now I’m really feeling the whole goal setting thing. I also realized I have been setting so many of my goals wrong and that has been contributing to my lifelong struggle with my weight. I now believe that better goal setting can contribute to better weight loss.
The method for setting goals I was taught is called the SMART system. It is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Agreed Upon, Realistic, Time-restricted.
Specific goals are useful because they eliminate distractors and allow us to focus on only those actions that help us get closer to achieving our goal.
For example: I want to lose weight is a very bad goal.
A better example would be: I want to weight 230 lbs.
Our goal needs to be measurable to determine whether or not it was actually achieved. Going back to our previous example, losing weight is not a measurable goal, however weighing 230 lbs is measurable.
A – Agreed Upon
In order to achieve any goal you must make an agreement with yourself to put in the work in order to achieve it. Every day you must agree to go out and put in the effort required to make your dreams a reality. This is not a simple or short process but is essential to making the changes in your life you desire.
R – Realistic
It is incredibly important for your goals to be realistic. It is not realistic for me to make the goal that I will become a concert pianist. I do not possess a sense of rhythm and have an awful ear for tone. However, it is a realistic goal for me post three articles per week on a website I run (hypothetically). Setting an unrealistic goal can destroy your motivation when the objective seems unreasonably far away. It is okay to set an easier goal and then set a second goal after you have achieved it.
T- Time Restricted
This was where I most often made my mistake. I would set a perfect goal, but wouldn’t set a deadline. When I did this it became way too easy to say “I’ll start tomorrow” or “One more day won’t hurt”. If you do not set a deadline the goal will not be done.
Bad goal: I will weigh 230 lbs.
Good goal: I will 230 lbs on December 15th.
These are the tools I have been taught to help set goals. They work fantastic for any kind of health goal, but not only that they are useful for any goal you want to set in your life.
6 thoughts on “Get SMART to Achieve Your Dreams”
The acronym you mention provides a good guideline to use. When it comes to weight loss, however, it doesn’t address the BIGGER PICTURE to achieve this difficult goal. Even if you improve attitude, focus, intent, discipline, etc… focusing on a number on a scale will result (often) in LONG TERM FAILURE. In a case like this, achieving the “goal” (a number on a scale) commonly brings an end to the PROCESS because its purpose was achieved (the new lower weight.) Once achieved, we believe we will maintain this behavior, but in reality, 95+% of the people do not. If the goal was less tangible, yet more meaningful it creates a plan of action geared to achieving a new lifestyle. For example, if the goal was BETTER HEALTH (measured by (1) a blood chemistry profile, (2) increased personal function, energy and clarity, (3) blood pressure, (4) body composition and weight, etc…) these goals would have NO END POINT. As a result the objective tools we use to measure the PROGRESS require ongoing modifications to meet the DYNAMIC needs of the body.
This approach makes weight a “component” of the goal rather than the goal itself. This is an important concept in weight management when seeking LONG TERM SUCCESS. A HEALTHY body weight becomes the RESULT of a BALANCE in LIFESTYLE rather than a calorie consumed vs. calorie expended calculation.
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I agree with you. I have a couple of articles in the pipeline including one I believe you’ll like about how “dieting” is a counterproductive method. And another one on how to set up new goals after you’ve achieved one.
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