S.M.A.R.T Goal Setting
Written by Nuno Costa
We are now three months into 2014 and like most people, you’ve probably set some goals for this year. Perhaps you have some great New Year’s Resolutions that you’re trying to stick to or maybe you recently participated our 2014 “Look Good, Feel Good Challenge”. We’ve posted ideas and suggestions on how to set goals in the past and I wanted to provide an additional method to help you create some goals and action steps around them.
This method is called S.M.A.R.T. Goal Setting. I’ve used this way of setting goals with my private clients in the past and here is what the acronym stands for – specific, measurable, attainable/achievable, relevant and timely.
First, lets start off by creating a goal, for example – you want to be at 12% body fat by June of 2014. Then we can break down each portion and add action steps to get you there by defining the who/what/why/where/how/when.
Specific – The “Who” and “What”
You want to find a specific area of improvement and answer some specific details about it. In the above example, the goal is to lose body fat, specifically from wherever you are at to 12%. So one of the first action steps would be to go and have your body fat measured so that we would have an accurate starting point.
Once you created your goal, then you can add more details to it. Some action steps towards being 12% body fat might be changing your eating habits, hiring a nutrition coach, and/or coming to the gym four days a week. This can look different for everyone, based on what his or her goal is.
Measureable – The “How” Part 1
We want to be able to quantify what it is we are looking to accomplish. CrossFit is big on numbers and data and being able to show progress, which is why we do benchmark workouts regularly or and test the 1-RM in our lifts. This allows us to see if what we are doing is effective or not. The same can be said here for measuring your goal. In the example above, the measurement is the goal of being 12% body fat by June 2014…just in time for summer!
Attainable – The “How” Part 2
How will you make your goal attainable? Let’s say you want to lose weight or put on muscle; there are things that you are going to need to start doing in order to make this goal attainable. You may find that you need some additional resources as well as support from people. If you are looking to lose weight, perhaps some things you will need to start doing is food prep a couple of times a week, stop eating out and get your entire family onboard. If your goal is to gain weight, perhaps you will need extra calorie intake daily and even look at a weight gain program (such as Precision Nutrition’s Scrawny to Brawny). In order to make your goal attainable, you will need to find both the time and resources that will help you reach it.
Relevant – The “Why”
This is perhaps the most important component – you have to have a clear “why” as to why you want to accomplish your goal. Without this “why”, you will not be motivated and committed enough to stick to it. Your goal must have depth, weight and true meaning; otherwise you will not do what it takes in order to make it stick. Your “why” has to be clear and its important you spend some time defining it and what it means to you. I encourage you share your goal with as many people as possible, which will help you stay accountable to it.
Timely – The “When”
This allows you to put a target date for when you want to accomplish your goal. Once you do this, you can create a timeline working backwards from your goal with smaller benchmarks to reach along the way to help you stay on track.
I am attaching a template that can help guide you in setting goals; I have used successfully in the past with clients. You can find it here: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/SMARTgoalsWS-NN.pdf
Its not the only one out there, but its one that I have found to be effective and provides enough guidance and direction to help you get started in setting and achieving your goals. It’s also a great sheet to keep things fairly simple. Any of the Invictus coaches can help you set a goal if you are having trouble get started, so schedule some time with us and we would be happy to help you.