We have a long road ahead. We need to go into this with both eyes open. One of the ways we will dodge failure is by setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Attainable
R = Realistic
T = Timely
Let’s look at those a little more specifically. A poor goal is “I want to lose weight.” Then you lose a pound. Are you done?
It has to be measurable. When something is measurable you now know if you are ahead or behind schedule. I want to lose “X” amount of pounds, or “X” number of inches of my waist.
Some say the “A” stands for Attainable, Achievable, or Agreed upon. I often use Appropriate. It doesn’t make any sense to say I’m going to swim 20 minutes a day if you do not have access to water. It also has to be something that is attainable in your mind. If you don’t think you can do it, you probably won’t.
We need Realistic goals so we don’t set ourselves up to be discouraged. If we say, “I want to lose 10 pounds in 10 days,” that is not realistic (or healthy).
A goal without a timeline is a dream. You need to add time to your goals. I usually tell people just starting out to shoot for easy goals. This might be something like, “I will walk for 10 minutes five times this week.” It’s specific. It is measurable. It’s realistic. It has a time line. Many people try, “I will lose 10 pounds in a month.” I prefer to put time elements on action items. If you do the action items, then you will be putting yourself in place to lose weight and get healthy.
“I will walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes (specific), 4 days this week. “
Keep in mind that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. This goal is something that you need to believe you can do. It needs to be something that you want, and something you feel you can achieve. It needs to be achievable (notice I didn’t say easy). We just need to avoid those times when we set up something that is so hard that we give up. Then we need to add a time element so we can measure ourselves and see if we are on time.
Don’t fret if you get behind. A guided missile is “Wrong” most of its path. It radios back and sees that it’s off path and adjusts. It then radios back, and makes more adjustments. Eventually it hits the target and everyone applauds. Nobody noticed that the missile was “wrong” for most of the flight. Make your adjustments, and continue on toward your goal.