It’s okay if you are still making your resolutions—this time of year is full of excitement, motivation and big revamp-your-entire-life #goals. And that’s great. But the truth is most of us fizzle out and fail to actually achieve what we want.
Make this time different! A goal without a plan is just a wish. The key is to WRITE IT DOWN. You may be thinking, Psssh…I don’t need to write it, I have it in my head. Seriously—if you aren’t even willing to do the “work” of writing it down, how do you think you’re going to do the real work?
Set yourself up for success with the S.M.A.R.T. system. Just follow the acronym.
S.M.A.R.T. Goals Setting
Specific: Clearly define your goal in as much detail as possible. Think about who, what, where, and when. Don’t be vague!
Example: I will run my first half marathon within the next 6 months.
Measurable: Be able to measure the outcome and think about how you will get there and how to track your progress. Use numbers!
Example: I will follow a half-marathon training plan consisting of four runs per week plus one strength training session per week.
Attainable: Make sure your goal is realistic. Showing up at a race next week with no prior training probably won’t go well. Selecting an event several months away and choosing an appropriate training plan is a reasonable course of action. Also evaluate if you have all the resources you need.
Example: If I train consistently, I can be ready for the XYZ Half in five months. I’m going to need new shoes first and make sure I schedule training time on my calendar.
Relevant: Consider whether your goal is worthwhile and enhances your life. Why are you doing it? Is it actually important to you, or are you doing it because someone else is or someone told you to? It should fit into your life and larger goals.
Example: I am setting this goal to challenge myself, run farther and get healthier.
Time-oriented: Your goal should have a specific timeframe for completion.
Example: I will enter the XYZ Half Marathon on June 10.
S.M.A.R.T. Goals Worksheet
This method is great for both long-term and short-term goals. Feel free to set sub-goals as part of a larger one (like planning for a 5K while training for a half marathon or breaking a 30-pound weight loss goal into 10-pound increments). Bonus: You can use S.M.A.R.T. for any type of goal—health/fitness, financial, business, school or work projects, etc.
Now all you have to do is follow through. Go finalize your plan, schedule the time, and do the work!