Continuing with our 10-article Mind Over Body series, today I am researching goal-setting.
I have done a lot of goal setting in the past few years. Even in my job I make goals on a daily basis with my clients. These have to be "SMART" in order to get paid for by the insurance companys so I have some basic experience with setting goals. And this article's guidelines for goal setting is similar to the premise of SMART.
The 6 characteristics of goal setting include:
Which correspond fairly well with "SMART"
So how do I utilize these strategies to ensure optimum chances of success in my own program?
My vision statement highlighted a desire to lose weight in order to be confident and DO more with my life then what I have seen and done so far. I want to own a farm, write books and get my life-coaching certificate.
I want to help people who want to be helped and not be stuck with those who have a hidden agenda.
I want to be a better therapist and a better wife and a better mother and all those things can be improved with weight loss as I have already seen my confidence increase since losing the first 25 pounds!
So if weight loss is my ultimate goal (which is not a bad thing mind you) then I need to identify WHY I am not losing and WHY I gain the way I do.
That part is easy enough if I am honest. I love junk food, I love convenience food, I hate exercise and I would rather drink pop then water. Given these truths then I can tailor my goals around these habits.
Challenging: I need to push myself past where I am already. Historically I have started with easy peasy goals like drinking 8 glasses of water a day. Welllll that's a great goal but one that I already know I CAN do so it's not very challenging. A better challenging goal would be to not eat fast food during the week. Or reduce my eating out to 1x a week.
Attainable: I would love to run a 5K, but since I do pretty much NO physical activity during the week, this may not be attainable for next weekend. Same thing for p90x, insanity and anything by Jillian Michaels. However, I can totally squeeze in 10 minutes at least 3X a week. AND that is still challenging since my current time is 0.
Specific: I would love to just say I will "lose weight" but that's not very specific. Neither is "be healthier" or "eat better". A more specific goal that is challenging AND attainable would be to consume the daily recommended freggies a day.
Time-Limited: Need that deadline or else we fade. I do have a long term goal on my spark page as well as 10% goals and specific dates for each.
Positive: I am an oppositional person by nature so anytime I can frame my goals in positive terms will improve my chances of getting it done! If I say I wont drink pop, then it's all I can think of!!! I liken this to telling someone to NOT think of a polar bear for 30 seconds. When you tell them NOT to then its all they can think about. BUT If you say think of a brown bear instead, then its easier because you have something to focus on. So instead of saying I will not drink pop, I can say I will replace my pop with water.
Flexible; I am a very dichotomous thinker and tend to go all or nothing. Since this is not how weight loss works and life will ALWAYS get in the way at times. My way to try to be flexible is to say that today will be better then yesterday. I will also work to not beat myself up by using the strategies discussed in previous articles! AND finally, I am aiming for a C (70%success in my goals which comes out to 5 out of 7 days of success)
How does this relate to smart goals?
Everything SMART was already covered above with one exception.
measurable is similar in that you need to come up with a measure that lets you know that you are making progress. We tend to do this with numbers on a scale but its best to have alternative measures as well like how our clothes fit, our measurements and our confidence or energy levels. Then track it and see how it develops!
So what have I come up with?
My FIRST short term goal is:
I am going to complete the Skinny Jean challenge starting today and ending in 2 weeks. My goal is to complete at least 80% of the daily challenges (11 out of the 14 days) and at the end of the challenge I will see a reduction of my measurements and weight by at least 2 inches and 4 pounds.
This is definitely challenging but still attainable. I was specific as the challenge has daily goals to complete. It's time limited (2 weeks) and positive (completing the challenge as opposed to working out and limiting foods). It's flexible as I know that I will not complete every single day but am aiming for at least an 80% success rate!
How do you set your own goals and how is it working for you? Do you think that these techniques are helpful and what do you think of SMART goal-setting?