Let’s talk about GOAL setting!
Setting a goal can seem daunting, so I wanted to share some insight on how to set goals for yourself so that the task isn’t a labor, but more, a challenge that you will rise to meet.
Goals should be S.M.A.R.T., which stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. So let’s break that down.
Goals should be S.M.A.R.T
Specific. Does it relate to what you want to achieve?
Your goal should be specific to what you want out of it. For example, if you are a weightlifter and you want to increase your strength, setting an objective to run 1 mile in under 6 minutes is not going to make sense for you. Conversely, if you are a runner and want to shave time off of your 1 mile run, setting an objective to increase your bench press by 15 pounds isn’t going to directly help you reach your end target. You want your goal to directly relate to what YOU want to achieve. Do keep in mind that you can have more than one, so perhaps you want to both increase strength and increase your speed. Each of these would need separate planning and objectives to get you there.
Measurable. Can you track it?
This is often where we see people struggle with goal setting, you have to be able to measure it. Often, goals become very general. “I want to lift more”. “I want to read more”. “I want to run faster”. This is a great starting point and can help frame your goal- you know what you want in the end. However, making your goal measurable ensures that you can test your progress and verify that you have completed your goal or determine where you are in your journey. Instead of saying “I want to lift more”, using something like “I want to deadlift 20 pounds more than I can today” makes the goal testable.
Achievable. Is it even possible?
It needs to be attainable. You want to make sure your goal is going to push and challenge you, but you also want to make sure that it is within the realm of possible. Setting goals that aren’t achievable due to lack of resources, time, etc. typically result in being disappointed. We want our goals to empower us, not bring us down.
Realistic. Can you accomplish what you set out to do?
This plays a bit into “achievable” as well. Did you give yourself enough time to reach your goal? Is it a goal that is possible? Can you commit the time/energy needed to reach the goal? If you are someone who never runs at all, setting a goal such as “I want to run an ultra-marathon… in the dessert in one month!” is not a realistic goal. The time frame is too short, the demands are too great to accomplish in the amount of time. If your goal is lofty, such as wanting to run an ultra-marathon, great! That can be your end goal. Now we need to plan smaller goals that will lead you to the end result.
Timely. Can you complete it in the foreseeable future?
Your goal should have a time frame associated (and it should be REALISTIC AND ACHIEVABLE). Putting a timeline is important because it limits the time you can waste. Think about it: if you have a project with a due date, aren’t you more likely to get to work on it? I think this is the most stressful part of goal setting for most people, but it doesn’t have to be. Remember, this is YOUR goal. YOUR goal is something you WANT TO ACHIEVE. This is not a project that you got assigned from work or something you have to do for a family member. This. Is. For. You. You want to complete this task, so instead of thinking of the timeline as stressful, think of it as empowering!