You already know my stance on “New Year, New You” (No Thanks) but I am an avid believer in setting goals for oneself. I am, in fact, a health coach and it would be very concerning if I didn’t. I love working with my clients on goal setting and then see their learning, insight, and accomplishments throughout the process. Because that is what setting and working towards a goal is, a learning process. It is a journey that teaches you a lot about yourself.
As you begin to identify your goals, it is very important to get as clear as you can by making them SMART (no, this is not me calling some goals stupid). SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented, Realistic, and Time Bound. For example, a goal of losing 30 lbs. in three months to lower your A1C is very vague and in fact, an OUTCOME goal. There is no action involved in that goal, it is just the result of it. An example of a SMART goal would be in three months to be working out Monday through Friday for 45 minutes in the morning. That is very specific, measurable (you can measure if you did it or not), action oriented (being physically active), realistic (if this fits your schedule that is), and time bound (two months and 45 minutes).
Now, when you have your long term (in this case 3 months) goal clearly defined the next step is to set up smaller action steps to get you there. As I mentioned, setting goals is a process and journey that takes time. If you currently don’t workout it is not realistic for you to jump right into working out 45 minutes 5 days a week and expect to stick with it. By setting smaller action steps, or mini goals, you build on your successes and learning each week which will ultimately get you to your desired goal and outcome. An example of an action step for the previously mentioned 3 month goal is to research and identify workouts you would like to do and then doing them 1-2 times per week for 15 minutes. After the week or two that you are trying this out, you can look back at your successes, challenges and learning to help define what your next step should be. By continually setting smaller steps and evaluating your learning, you will build a strong foundation that will lead to you crushing whatever goal you want.
So, you have your SMART goal. You have your action steps. Now what about motivation? What about your WHY? It is easy to say that you want to lose 30 pounds to fit into that teeny weenie yellow polka dot bikini, but is that enough to get you through those morning workouts? Instead of depending on sheer will (which doesn’t show up for me every time that alarm clock goes off), think about how you are going to FEEL when you get to that desired weight. What are you going to GAIN? Would it bring about more confidence? Happiness? Self-love? How is it going to affect your relationships? By connecting a strong emotion to your goals you have a way higher chance of staying motivated during the trying times.
Another important component of setting and accomplishing goals is accountability. Sharing your goals with people helps build a support system to get you through the inevitable challenges you will face. And if some individuals don’t support you, well bye-bye, thank you for identifying yourself as a non-essential. Just a heads up, when you get serious about your goals and share them, you might be surprised which category some of your friends and family members fall into.
As I said in my blog “New Year, New You, No Thanks”, you have everything you need to accomplish your goals. You possess all the qualities and strengths needed to achieve what you set out to. Trust in the process and enjoy the journey. Your best you is already there, so let it shine.