Setting a Goal You Can Stick With

As with every year before, you headed into 2017 with high hopes and aspirations to finally quit drinking, eat more veggies, and actually use the gym membership that has been sitting dormant since you signed up last January. Yet here it is, already almost February and you have made it halfway to the gym one time because you “accidentally” left your gym bag at home. Don’t worry though… It’s not just you who is dealing with the struggle of keeping up with your resolutions. But why is that?
Let’s start off by looking at one of the most commonly used resolutions: “I want to lose weight”. Okay… so how much do you want to lose? Do you want to lose 100 lbs this year? Do you want to lose 100 lbs this month?! Well with a goal like that, we don’t know, therefor we don’t REALLY know what we are even shooting for.  The question you may be asking yourself is “why is it so hard to follow goals that I set for myself?”  The short answer is actually 5 very simple… or should I say SMART steps.
Here are the 5 points to remember when setting a goal you can actually stick with:

1. Make your goal Specific

People are often very broad when they set their goals. It’s almost as if setting a generic goal will make it easier to reach. “This year I’m going to lose weight.” That can mean SO many different things. Next time instead of saying “lose weight”, be more specific and try saying something like “lose 20 lbs.” This way you have an exact number to reach for.

2. Make sure whatever you are going for is Measurable

It is very hard for some people to know how much progress they have made without seeing it on paper or in a before/after picture. Though they have actually made huge strides towards their goal, they end up giving up because they never had the proof. Instead of saying “I want to be more fit”, try saying “I want to drop my body fat down by 3%”. This way you actually have a way to measure your progress.

3. Set a goal that is actually Attainable

There is nothing more defeating that setting a goal and not reaching it. So why would you set a goal that is impossible to reach? All that will come of that is discouragement from a failed attempt. “I want to lose 100 lbs this month.” Without some sort of medical help, losing that much weight in 30 days is pretty far out there. Remember that there is nothing wrong with setting smaller milestones until you reach your end goal. Next time try “I want to lose 10 lbs a month until I lose 100.” Completely doable (depending on your starting point) and you will actually feel like you succeeded.

4. Your goal should be Relevant

You may want to lose weight, eat healthier, or maybe just run faster, but it is important to remember that the goal you set for yourself should align with your vision down the line. For example, if you want to compete in a triathlon but don’t know how to swim, a decent amount of your training should be spent in a pool. It’s a little too late to reassess your goals if you’re already halfway to the bottom of the lake.

5. Goals should always be Timely

Setting goals is a great was to make progress in whatever aspect of life you are working on. Where a lot of people get set back is when they create good goals, but don’t put a time limit on it. Without a set deadline, there is no urgency. You can say that you want to lose 30 lbs, but by when? All of a sudden it’s November 1st and you haven’t lost a pound because your finish line was never in sight. Make sure that you set some sort of deadline so that you can hold yourself accountable.

Maybe it’s time to take a step back and reassess your own goals. Always remember that you will never hit a target that doesn’t exist.

Lindsey Anderson