How many times did you say it to yourself..
“this is it, this time I’m really gonna do it!”?
For many times we keep saying to ourselves and to our friends and family that this is the time that we are actually going to achieve or start doing something for our health and fitness, start working out, gain this amount of muscle, drop this amount of fat, run every day in the morning, etc, etc, etc..
but in reality we only do it for a couple of weeks, if we actually even start it, and then it starts fading out.
I’m pretty sure that most of us have heard about goals and the importance to set them, but do we actually do it? We can easily say we want to run a marathon in 6 months, but what is the breakdown and the actions that will take us there? Where do I have to be in 3 months in order to achieve that? What about in a month? What about next week? What do I have to start doing tomorrow? There’re many ways to set your goals but the one that has been more effective for me over the past years is the SMART structure, that each letter represents a specific word that will help you set your goal. Let’s see below how it works:
On the acronym A some people use the Attainable, I preferably like to use Action plan instead, because it gives you the idea of what you need to do in order to achieve that. So now that we know what SMART goals are, let’s use the marathon example to see how it works:
It’s very common that you first select the time based and then you go to the realistic one, it can get confusing if you think that your goal is realistic but then the timeline that you put into it might not be enough, so I always recommend to get the deadline first and then realize if it is realistic or not. But this is just the beginning, this is the part where everybody can get but then the motivational side starts breaking down, “well, in reality it’s only in 6 months down the line, why do I have to start now? I can only start next week, actually I’m pretty busy with work at this point”, or even worse, “a Marathon is too much for me, what was I thinking?”
This is when you need an action plan and baby steps to get there..
You know you’ll be training 5 times a week, but where do you have to be in 1 month? Nothing better than breaking down your big goal into small goals that will help you, and for that you can always use a timeline draw, from a point “A” to “B”, starting from the future until today, let’s see below how it works.
Point A (Today) _________________________________________________Point B (Marathon)
Being “A” today and “B” the Marathon day in 6 months, you start on the Marathon point and go backwards to understand which steps you’ll need to get there. You can start by selecting where do you have to be half way there:
Point A (Today) ___________________________|_____________________Point B (Marathon)
3 Months – Run 21KM
By setting up this structure it will start giving you the idea what the steps are, so now its time to break that one into smaller ones:
Point A (Today) _1______2_______3__________4_________5______6____Point B (Marathon)
Now you have your big goal, in SMART goals, with an action plan and a breakdown of smaller goals that you can track your progress and keep you motivated throughout the process, as I mentioned before, if the goal is too big or too far away from today, it’ easy to get demotivated, but more important than that, you have to celebrate and reward yourself by the time you achieve those accomplishments, after all, they are great accomplishments that are taking you to the big picture. We apply the same in real life, we just don’t think about it, take babies as example, we know that eventually they will run, but we also know that before that they will walk, and before they will try to stand up, but never before they crawl, so we know the “baby steps” are there, and how much do they practice? Daily, we just don’t realize that but we’re always keen to celebrate, take pictures and videos and share with our families and friends. Do the same with your small baby steps for your wellness goals.
Regardless of what is your wellness goal at this point, either exercising, start eating healthier, having a more active lifestyle, always ensure you know exactly what you’re chasing, have an action plan for it and you know where you have to be in short period of time, if necessary print out a piece of paper or even write it down on a sticker, put it on your desk, on your fridge or even or your mobile phone wallpaper, but make sure you see it everyday.