One of the biggest challenges people encounter on their journey towards weight loss is lack of motivation. Over the years I have learned that the best way to gather enough motivation to exercise and eat healthy is by setting goals. In a recent conversation with an economist I discovered the acronym SMART which is used in project management. I did some further research and in learning about it realized that it can be used in setting goals for ourselves and managing our bodies.
The acronym stands for:
You need to set a specific goal. Simply stating that you want to look good or you want to be healthy is not enough because those things are relative and will fluctuate on a daily basis. Being specific will give you something tangible to work towards. Do you want to lose 50 pounds; do you want to go from size 16 to size 10? Do you want to run a 5k race? Do you want your waist circumference to be below 35 inches (to reduce the risk of heart disease)? Be specific in the goals you set for yourself and your entire being will work towards making it happen.
You have to have a way to track your progress so using the examples above you can measure your weight loss on a weekly basis by weighing yourself with a scale. You can measure your dress size by the changes you feel in your clothes and buying smaller and smaller sizes. You can measure the distance you run on a day to day basis gradually building up how much you run. You can measure your waist circumference. Whatever it is you use to measure your progress serves as encouragement to press on.
Let me also state that at times you may not see specific changes in your measurements but trust that change is always occurring (sometimes in a manner which you may not be measuring), you simply need to be consistent in doing the right thing and you will see results over time.
It is important to set a goal that you can achieve. If you have never run more than 5 minutes in your life, it may be a challenge to set a big goal such as running a marathon in 2 months. Is your goal of losing 50lbs achievable in 1 month, 3 months, 6 months 12 months or never at all? Are you extremely tall and have set the goal of weighing 100lbs? This might be unhealthy. Make sure that the goals you set are practical. This can be done by talking through it with an objective or trained person.
Someone once said the mind can’t take a joke and is not easily fooled. So if you say to yourself, I am going to run a marathon in 2 months, your mind will do everything in its power to let you know that you are not. You have to set a goal that your mind can agree with in this regard it is important to start small and gradually increase your goals. If your ultimate goal is to run a marathon, start by setting an initial goal of running a 5k, then a 10k and so on until you have built up your endurance. If you know that ultimately you want to lose 50 pounds, you could break it up into a smaller goal of losing 10 pounds a month.
And last but not least is setting a time frame within which you want to achieve your goals. So you go back to your specific goal of losing 50lbs. You have to attach a time to in order to give yourself a deadline; this will force you to continually work towards a goal so that you can achieve it in the time you set for yourself. It is feasible to lose 2 pounds per week and with this in mind one can reasonably set the goal of losing 50 pounds in 6 months.
Have a conversation with the supportive and positive people in your life. This will help you set SMART goals that you will be motivated to work towards. Once you have set the goals, write them down and post them on your refrigerator along with a picture that will help you visualize your goal such as a person with a physique you admire, a fabulous dress you want to buy or the registration form for a race you want to run. The key to achieving your SMART goal is to be consistent.
My current goal is to maintain my present weight and dress size. I have specific things that I am doing to make sure that I stay at that size which includes following a meal plan and exercising regularly to become stronger and fitter.
What are your goals and what are you doing to achieve them?