I moved to Monhegan Island in 2004 and over the course of four years due to my diet and lifestyle, I gained 45 lbs. It seemed to come on gradually, and I really didn’t notice at first.
I was looking through some photos one day when it finally hit me, Oh My Gosh!, when did this happen. I got fat!
So now I was in the stage of recognizing I had a problem. The next stage was resistance.
I like my diet and lifestyle, I don’t want to change.
Through meditation and incremental changes in my self-talk, I started to overcome my resistance to change and the fear that goes along with it. It wasn’t easy, there is all kinds of fear that go along with change, mostly of the subconscious, self-sabotage, self-fulfilling prophecy variety.
Acknowledging my self-worth and future vision of myself was important aspect of this stage named RESISTANCE.
Next I had to MOTIVATE.
Motivation is different for each of us and it is based on our future vision of ourselves. Journaling, vision boards, meditation, health coaching, psychotherapy are all tools for getting clear on what you want your life to look like. Once you have the vision of what you want for yourself and your future, you have your motivation.
SMART goal setting takes these spiritual, self-reflective tools and puts your vision into action with a structured plan. Having a structured plan helps you to stay on your path, on task, and gives you the opportunity to celebrate the milestones when you reach a goal.
You may have the big goal and vision of losing 45 lbs. but that is not specific enough. Break down your big goal into small, achievable mini-goals. Start with losing 1 lb. ever two weeks for example, then get SPECIFIC with that goal, ask yourself:
Who: who is going to support you in meeting your goals? A best-friend, spouse, health coach
What: what exactly will you do daily, weekly and monthly to achieve you goal? Ie. 30 minutes on the treadmill, Eat 11 Veggies A Day
When: when will you accomplish these tasks. Schedule into your calendar each task or activity. Ie. 10-10:45 am workout daily, Sunday at 5 pm prepare enough vegetables to last all week for lunch
Where: will you workout at home, in a gym, outside? with DVD’s, online stream, personal trainer? Will you cook at home? Where will you purchase healthy foods?
Why: why are you making this or these specific goals. What will the outcome be? Why will this goal work for you?
Challenges: Identify challenges or hurdles that may pop-up. Plan for them ahead of time so that you can overcome them. Ie. weather could get in the way of working-out outside, have a plan in place for indoor activity on these days.
When your goals are MEASURABLE, you set yourself up for celebrating accomplishments and milestones.
Your goals should:
- Establish criteria to measure progress
- Answer: How you will know when the goal is accomplished?
- Create Checklists: as you accomplish each task, check it off, a sense of accomplishment will keep you motivated and on your path to a happy, healthy life.
Make sure you goal is ATTAINABLE. Set yourself up for success by setting goals that you can attain based on your vision of your life. Avoid making goals of what you think you should do, instead set yourself up for success by making goals that align with your skills, attitude and abilities. For example don’t set the goal of running a marathon if you hate to run and you think it is a waste of time. What do you like to do already, expand on this.
A goal needs to be REALISTIC to be achievable. Ask yourself:
- Are you willing and able to do the work?
- Have you done something similar in the past? How did that go?
- How committed are you?
- Do you have what you need to accomplish the goal?
- How much time and energy do you really have to put towards your goal? Be honest. If you only have 15 minutes per day, don’t set goals that go over that amount of time.
- Make your goal hard enough to inspire and motivate, but still achievable.
Putting TIME constraints and deadlines on a goal not only adds a sense of urgency and priority to the goal but also gives you the opportunity to celebrate when you meet a deadline.
I can procrastinate and put off just about anything for another day. Once I started scheduling my healthy diet and lifestyle goals into my calendar, I stayed on my vision path much better and it felt really good when I met deadlines with my goals.
Having a plan made all of the difference for my weight loss and healthy lifestyle journey. I went from an overweight, sugar addict, with digestive upset and insomnia to a healthy body and mind. My journey is ongoing and will never end, but I am happier and healthier than I have ever been. I am so grateful for the changes I have made through the use of tools like SMART goal setting and with the support of a health coach.
I know you can benefit from SMART goal setting too. Here is a free PDF 3_set_s.m.a.r.t._goals to aid you on your journey. For additional support, make an appointment today for a FREE evaluation of your current diet and lifestyle vision.