Goal Setting - Part I: Goal Criteria
Thursday, February 21, 2013
"A goal without a plan is nothing more than a dream." -Unattributed
I have been reading, and responding, to several blog posts from people who are unhappy with their progress on reaching their goals. Almost without exception they don't really have a goal, just a number they arrived picked out of thin air. Before I respond to any post or blog I go to the person's Sparkpage and try to learn something about them. Many people don't make their nutrition and fitness tracker public or even their Sparkpage public so it makes it really hard to offer sound advice to someone asking for help. One thing I have noticed is most of the people on Sparkpeople who are failing are doing so because they don't have clear goals or a step-by-step plan to reach their desired outcome (notice I didn't say goals).
For the next few days I am going to be writing about Goals and Goal-setting.
Today I want to share what I have learned about creating Goals. Goals must meet the following criteria in order to be effective, otherwise why have them at all.
1. Goals must be WRITTEN DOWN. In order to be a true goal it MUST be in writing. If a goal isn't written down it's a wish not a goal.
2. Goals must be SPECIFIC. It's not enough to write down "I want to be thinner." How much thinner? How do you define thinner? Thinner than whom? It's not enough to have a goal of "losing weight." How much weight? How much do you want to weigh? You need to be specific. "I want to be thinner by reducing my waist by 6 inches, my hips by 10 inches and each of my thighs by 8 inches. I also want to reduce my weight by 40 pounds." That is a specific goal.
3. Goals must be ATTAINABLE. A real goal is one that can be reached. If you weigh 300 pounds and your goal is to lose 180 pounds in a year, that's probably not attainable without professional intervention. However, by adjusting your goal by either giving yourself more time or weight loss within the year, you can make your goal attainable. Which leads me to the next criteria...
4. Goals must be TIME SENSITIVE. By definition, a goal has an achievement date. To write down a goal such as "I want to lose 100 pounds." is not enough. It must have a completion date, a deadline if you will. "I want to lose 100 pounds by December 31st, 2013." That is a specific, time sensitive goal.
5. Goals must be REALISTIC. This single element is the most important part of any written goal, it MUST be realistic. Take me for example, it is not realistic for me to ever get my weight down to 145 pounds again. On my frame, with my skeletal structure and minimum muscle mass, I will never be able to weigh 145 pounds or even 150 pounds. But realistically, I could get down to 160-165 pounds again.
6. Goals must be Relevant. A realistic written goal must be important to the person setting the goal, otherwise there is no "burning desire" to achieve the goal. Irrelevant goals are like New Year's Eve pledges, they fall by the way-side after a few days or weeks. A real goal is important. It's something you work toward a little bit every day. It's in the forefront of your mind every day.
These are the six major criteria for creating a GOAL. Next we will explore creating a plan to achieve our goals, A PLAN FOR SUCCESS.
Until next time, JUICE to you all!