Goals in life aren’t just important; they are the foundation for the most basic of actions. They are what drive our focus toward success in all facets of life.
Improving health and fitness is no different. Unfortunately at Hunter Rehab and Health, we often meet clients who have not reached their goal of better health. Working toward a clear and defined ‘SMART’ goal is often the difference between a ‘random walk’ and ‘chasing’ an ideal.
What is a SMART goal?
Be Specific. Who, what, when and how. Often it’s comfortable being vague. If it’s vague, you can’t really fail. But you can’t succeed either. Have a good think about what you want to achieve and why. Often the ‘why’ is the most important element of this step.
Can you Measure it? If you can’t measure it, how will you know when you’ve succeeded? Accountability is one of the most critical factors in achieving health goals. Measure your progress.
Make it Attainable. Is your goal realistic? Can you achieve the goal you have set in the time you’ve allowed? Having enough time to achieve your goal ensures you aren’t set up for failure.
Is it Relevant? If your goal is to swim 5km, and you detest swimming, you may have a few issues in achieving this goal. Work with what you enjoy; if you enjoy it, you’ll persist and if you persist, you’ll get there.
It should be Timely. Your goal should have an expiry date. To avoid the cliché’ ‘I’ll start next week’ or yo-yo diets, make a date for you to have achieved your goal by.
Can you give me an example?
I guess now I should say something like ‘shoot for the stars’, ‘aim high’, ‘set the bar high’. This is the popular trend.
Ok-‘I want to be able to walk 2 km in 6 months’ time’.
This is fine; it certainly meets the criteria we’ve established. Although 6 months’ is a long way off. You start to think ‘This is hard’, ‘I’m not sure if I can do it’. Doubt has set in, it’s often a quick transition to ‘I won’t make it, why bother’, and a goal dies.
Be brave enough to ‘aim lower’. Set your goal such that you believe that if you try just a little, you can very likely achieve that goal. Can I put my shoes on? ‘Yes’. Can I walk to the end of my driveway? ‘Yes’. Do I think I can walk to the end of my street? ‘Well I think so, I’ll be tired, but I think I can’.
Great! start here. This week I want to walk to the end of my street two times. Achieve this goal, celebrate it and create a new, more challenging goal that you can achieve, if you try a little. Success builds success. All of a sudden you think ‘I’m doing well here’, ‘I’m on track’; ‘I’m going to achieve this’. Motivation grows, and a goal is ultimately achieved.