With the start of each new year, I always like to think of what I want to work on and accomplish. Sometimes I just keep a running list in my head, or create a vision board, or I write them all out. One of the goals that I have set for this year is to finish my Health and Wellness certification course. I was recently working through a unit on working with clients to set SMART goals, and it really resonated with me.
Lucky for us, we don’t need the start of a new year to create goals. Every new day is an opportunity. Even the start of a new month.
What are SMART goals?
Setting goals are always smart, but are they always SMART? SMART is an acronym that is a great tool to follow when setting goals.
S – Specific
Set goals that are well defined, so it is known exactly what is wanted to be achieved.
M – Measurable
Set goals that are quantifiable.
A – Achievable/Action Oriented
Set goals that are realistic and have actions that can be taken to accomplish them.
R – Relevant
Set goals that align with values and priorities.
T – Time-bound
Set goals with a deadline.
It’s not all about the outcome though.
When we think about goals we want to work towards, we usually think of the actual outcome. Often times, we measure our accomplishment based on that outcome, even if we have made substantial progress along the way. When thinking about SMART goals, it’s helpful to set goals based on a behavior instead of an outcome.
For example: Let’s say that I set a goal of wanting to lose 10 pounds in 3 months. For me, this goal fits the SMART goal model. But, what if after 3 months I haven’t lost 10 pounds even though I have followed the plan that I put into place. I’m eating whole plant-foods, exercising, drinking all the water and focusing on sleep. And overall, I’m feeling great. Should I consider this a failure just because I didn’t accomplish my goal of losing 10 pounds? Of course not!
Behavior goals can lead to outcome goals.
These behavior changes could very well have led to the outcome I wanted, but just because they didn’t, I shouldn’t discount the progress I made. And since behavior changes are often ongoing, I may still end up where I want to be. It might just take me a little longer than I anticipated.
When we focus solely on the outcome we are looking for, we can feel defeated if we don’t meet our goal. And when we feel defeated, it’s easy to give up and throw away the goal all together. And feel like we can never accomplish what we set out to do. But when we focus on a behavior goal, we learn that the path along the way is part of the goal.
What SMART goals are you going to set??
To read more about SMART goals, check out this article.
And be sure to check out my previous post about health behaviors and what determines them.
Here’s to making choices for our health, the environment, and of course the animals. <3