Get S.M.A.R.T. with your goals

It’s that time of year when people are making and breaking resolutions. The New Year always brings thoughts of change, how much better we’ll be this year, and how much more productive.

Resolutions don’t produce though. A quick Google search for a definition of ‘resolution’ finds this:
“A firm decision to do or not do something.”

Without a concrete goal that firm decision will fade quickly, so instead let’s make goals, and if we are going to make goals they should be as useful as possible.

Enter the S.M.A.R.T. system –
Specific – Answer the who, what, when, where, why questions.
Measurable – Make sure that you can measure progress.
Attainable – Evaluate whether the goal is actually possible. Traveling to another star is probably not an attainable goal.
Realistic – This is about being realistic with your current capabilities.
Timely – Attach a specific timeframe to each goal and every part of each goal.

Let’s take a common set of goals: “I’m going to lose weight and exercise more.” Using the S.M.A.R.T. system you would build your goals like this:

Specific – I am going to lose 15% body fat, do at least 20 minutes of cardio twice a week and lift weights twice a week.
Measurable – I can measure my body fat and record each workout.
Attainable – My current body fat is about 30% and I weigh 200 lbs, so I have 60 lbs of fat. If I want to lose 15% that’s 30lbs, which is very reasonable.
Realistic – There is a gym on the way home, and they have childcare as well. I will need to schedule my workouts but I have the time; I just have to treat them like appointments.
Timely – I will lose the body fat by July 1st, which gives me roughly six months.

Taken together that becomes a single solid measurable goal, with the beginning of a plan of action:

“I will lose 15% body fat by July 1st. I will use a Bod Pod to check beginning and ending body fat percentages and a bioelectric impedance scale to estimate percentages in between once per week. I will lift weights twice a week and do at least 20 minutes of cardio twice per week. I will record each workout, and I will make a schedule at the beginning of each week so that I will have a plan. I will treat each workout as an appointment with myself.”

It takes a bit of time, but if you think through each goal and build them carefully, you’ll increase your likelihood of success. That’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to start any endeavour.

Leave a Reply