We’ve all been there – it’s now the end of January, the food and beverage hangover of December and January is wearing off, the reality of your work schedule has sunken in, and suddenly we think – what happened to all the 2020 health and fitness goals, resolutions and challenges I set for myself when I was lying on the beach? Studies have shown that somewhere between only 10-25% of us keep our resolutions.
So the question is, why do we not stick to our goals?
More often than not they are made with the best intentions and for valid reasons, particularly when it comes to health, wellness and fitness goals. The problem lies in the fact that the resolutions aren’t SMART. What do I mean by SMART?
SMART is an acronym which stands for:
- Specific – this means the goal is clear and unambiguous. It tells you what to expect to do, and why it’s important to you
- Measurable – this is a way of measuring progress towards the goal, and can help you stay on track and spur yourself on.
- Achievable – aiming for great heights is commendable – but if the goal isn’t realistic or attainable in a practical sense, it can be very disheartening and un-motivating to act on.
- Relevant – what is the effect of the goals outcome on you? Is it going to be worth the effort you are going to put in? Is this the right time in your life/year to be able to properly focus on the goal
- Time-based – this last part of the goal is important because it sets a target date, which helps a lot with commitment, and can establish a sense of target and urgency.
The main advantage to being SMART is that goals are easier to understand, to tick off when they have been done and to break into chunks so that you know you are getting somewhere with them.
Let’s start with a couple of common resolutions that people often make:
- “I want to lose weight”, or “I want to get fitter”.
These are often important goals, as they can have a significant impact on a person’s lifestyle….but the problem with them is that they aren’t SMART. To make these goals SMART they should have time-limits, be realistic and achievable for people trying to lose weight or improve fitness.
- “I want to lose 5kgs by the end of April.”
- “I want to be able to complete the Orewa beach Half marathon in April.”
These are just an example, but they give you an idea of what is involved. I challenge you to go back and see if your goals are SMART, and if not, can you make them so? An extra tip to help goal fulfilment: write them down somewhere. You don’t even have to necessarily show anyone else, the very act of writing them down can help significantly in your likelihood of keeping them in 2017.