Tackling your Goals
“Goals provide the energy source that powers our lives. One of the best ways we can get the most from the energy we have is to focus it. That is what goals can do for us; concentrate our energy.” -Denis Waitley
Welcome to Lesson #6! Setting goals is important because it allows you to see if your efforts have been effective. When you set a goal, it’s important to be detailed so that you can have a clear guide of exactly what you are hoping to accomplish. If your goal is simply to “manage my weight,” it can be hard to know when you have achieved the goal, because it’s vague. The objective of this lesson is for you to learn how to set a SMART goal that you can begin working toward this week.
Setting SMART Goals
SMART is an acronym that highlights guidelines when setting a goal so that you can know exactly when you have accomplished it. Following the guidelines will ensure that your goal is detailed, relevant, and possible. Get out a pen and paper or digital note, and then think of a goal that you would like to accomplish in the next week. Run it through the guidelines below:
Specific: What exactly do you want to accomplish?
Measurable: How will you know if you’re making progress? Many weight management goals measure weight, inches, body fat percentage, or an increase or decrease in a specific quantity.
Attainable: It’s very important that your goal is realistic. If you’re not sure what is realistic, be conservative with your estimate. For example “I’d like to lose three pounds a week” isn’t realistic (or healthy). It might be more realistic to say “I’d like to lose one pound every week.”
Relevant: Does it make sense to pursue this goal at this time in your life? For example, if you don’t have transportation to the gym, it might make the most sense to focus on workouts that you can do at home or nearby.
Timeframe: Make sure your goal has a specific time that you’d like to take to accomplish it. Short-term goals can be accomplished in a week to a month, and long-term goals may need more time. It may be helpful to break down long-term goals into shorter goals.
Here are a few examples of SMART goals:
- My goal is to lose two pounds over the next three weeks, by July 1st.
- My goal is to log all of my foods over the next five days so that I can see my total calories consumed during those days. I’ll use an app on my phone to help me log every time I eat.
- My goal is to eat 1,950 calories per day and cut out sugar. I want to do this for one week to see if I have more energy. I’ll rate my energy levels using a scale of 1-10 before I start the goal and while I’m cutting sugar for a week to see if it has a greater impact on my energy levels.
Do you have your goal in mind? If you haven’t already, take a moment to write down your goal following the SMART goal guidelines. Also jot down why this goal is important to you. What difference would it make if you accomplished it? This extra step can serve as a reminder of why you were passionate about the goal in the first place. It can be helpful to reference the why when challenges arise.
Example: My goal is to make it one week without drinking any soda. I will start on Sunday the 10th and end on Sunday the 17th. I know I can make it at least a week without it, because I have before. In place of soda, I’m going to drink sparkling water and coffee. I want to do this so that I can begin developing healthier habits, lose weight, and set a good example for my kids. I don’t want them to be overweight or at risk for Type 2 diabetes like I am.
In our next lessons you will learn how to track your progress and gain support from others toward your goals.
Cheers to your health,
Write down a SMART goal you’d like to accomplish and why it’s important to you, then share it with a friend or family member.
Share with friends