Are You Achieving Your Goals When You Would Like To?
Are you exercising regularly but not seeing the changes that you would like to see? Are you working out but not sure what you want to see? Have you had someone telling you that you need to set “Smart” Goals, and this has left you feeling stupid? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, this is the article for you!
In order to maximize the benefits of your exercise program you need to have some goal in sight. Ask yourself, do you want to lose weight, do you want to gain lean mass, do you want to fit into a certain bathing suit, do you have a vacation planned, is your health at risk? What is the reason for beginning an exercise program? Once you have identified your reason, you now need to “massage” it into a SMART Goal!
“SMART” is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Action Oriented, Realistic and Time Based. Essentially, this means that your goal needs to fulfill these requirements in order for you to attain it! More recently, the acronym “SUPERSMART” has become popular which provides us with more incentive and makes us do a bit more work during our “massage” but it makes our goals much more real!
“SUPERSMART” stands for Self-Determined, Public, Enjoyable, Rewards Based, Specific, Measurable, Action Oriented, Realistic and Time Based. If we follow the guidelines that the acronym sets out for us, it will help us create a goal with a high likelihood that we will attain and enjoy doing! Follow the steps below to make your goal SUPERSMART!
Step 1: What is your goal?
Write down the reasons why you are beginning or currently participating in some forms of exercise. This will help you figure out what your goal is.
- If you already know your goal, write it down.
- If you have written down multiple things, categorize them into one or two common themes. Is your goal weight management based or strength based or performance based etc?
Step 2: Is your goal Self Determined?
- Is this goal something you have decided to do for yourself or is it something that a 3rd party has decided for you?
- If your goal is something that you want to do for yourself, it is more likely that you will achieve this goal and enjoy the process of achieving it.
- If the goal has been imposed on you, I encourage you to determine how to make your goal self determined so that you are passionate about achieving it. Is there something that you have always wanted to achieve or complete etc.
Step 3: Is your goal Public?
This is a real simple step that will hold you accountable to your goal and your process.
- Confide in a friend/family member or personal trainer to help you set your goal.
- Make people aware of what you are trying to achieve, write your goal down and give it to people that will hold you accountable for your actions.
- Our subconscious mind is a very powerful tool that will help keep us accountable for our actions. Post your goal on your refrigerator, on your mirror, on the border of your computer screen or anywhere that you will frequently see it. Even when you do not read it, your brain will still process its existence! Notifying others of what you are trying to achieve will motivate you to achieve it!
Step 4: How can you make the process enjoyable?
- This is your opportunity to make the process something you can enjoy. Try to make checkpoints along the way and create rewards. Reward yourself for changes in behavior, create incentives for yourself and set short term and long term goals.
Step 5: Is your goal reward based?
- Have you thought about how to reward yourself for behavior changes? Reward yourself for changing your behavior because the behavior is what will lead to you achieving your goal!
- For example, perhaps you are quitting smoking, if you quit smoking, think of all of the money you will be saving so reward that behavior. Maybe you want a new watch, so every time you reduce your cigarette consumption, add money to the savings account for the new watch! Set up rewards for each checkpoint you achieve!
Step 6: Is your goal specific?
- Who will you need to help you achieve your goal? Where will you spend your time achieving your goal? What is the specific goal? What are the restrictions and limitations you might face? Why do you want to achieve this goal? Outlining all of these “W’s” will help you outline the process of achieving the goal.
Step 7: Is your goal measurable?
- Your goal is not meaningful or measurable until you attach numbers to it.
- For example, how much weight do you want to lose? How much resistance do you want to squat? By attaching numbers to your goals you are able to measure your progress and determine if your process needs to be revised at all!
Step 8: Is your goal action oriented?
- Pretty simply put, your goal needs to have a process that requires your involvement, energy and action. You cannot rely on others for your goal, it needs to be something that you have control over. Your behaviors and actions must bring you closer to your goal.
Step 9: Is your goal relevant and realistic?
- Is your goal something that you can achieve? Have you considered the time you want to achieve the goal in? Is that realistic? Are you trying to lose 30 pounds in a week? Have you consulted an expert on the goals you are hoping to achieve? Educate yourself on the process and do some research on whether your goals are reachable!
Step 10: Is your goal time based?
- Set checkpoints for yourself every 4 weeks to evaluate your progress.
- Start small, do not set one long-term goal that will take you 3 or 4 months, which will discourage you and be a long process.
- Build towards your outcome goal but set behavioral goals along the way. Assess your progress often and reward yourself! If you can make the process enjoyable, you will be more likely to achieve your goals!
If you need help setting your goals, there is nothing wrong with that! Ask questions and do some work on your own!
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