Beyond SMART Goal Setting

A new year brings with it new goals. Or as we like to call them, resolutions.  We all want some type of change or improvement in our lives.  Some of the top 10 goals of 2014 include:

  1. Spend more time with family & friends
  2. Fit in fitness
  3. Tame the bulge
  4. Quit smoking
  5. Enjoy life more
  6. Quit drinking
  7. Get out of debt
  8. Learn something new
  9. Help others
  10. Get organized

Setting goals and making resolutions is important for our spirit.  It gives us hope that we can change aspects of our lives that just aren’t working for us anymore.  To make it simple, we just want to be happier.

When it comes to goal setting, most of us have heard about setting SMART goals.  SMART is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound goals.  In my option, SMART is a superficial way to look at goal setting.

When I sit down with most people and discuss goals.  Most people don’t really know what they want.  Often I hear “I want to lose weight” or “I want to get into better shape” which are not concrete at all.  These are just statements that stem from a deep rooted problem expressed in ambiguous words.  To achieve success, you must have a concrete vision.

That’s why I’d like to add a word before SMART.  That word would be DREAM!!  We need to get back in touch with our dreams.  If the word “dreams” seems a bit too fluffy, then use the word vision.  When we close our eyes and see our ideal life vision, what do we see.  How do you look?  What does your day consist off?  Who are you with?  Get very specific and lots of detail.  This is very important.

Then compare your ideal life vision to your current life situation.  What is different?  What needs to change?  The answers to these questions will help pinpoint the goals you need to set.  For example, if you see yourself as a size 6 in your ideal life vision and your current size is a 14, then your goal can be to lose 8 sizes.

The most important step is yet to come.  You must ask yourself “Why?” this goal is important to you.  Why do I have to get to a size 6?  The answer is much deeper than wearing a new pair a jeans.  Reasons can vary and you are the only one who can answer “why”.  Don’t fool yourself when it comes to answering the why question.  You really need to be brutally honest with yourself why this goal is not only important to you, but vital to your happiness.

You and your partners sex life is non-existent.   When it comes to intimacy, you just don’t feel good in your body anymore.  Getting naked?  Hell no!  Your answer is just to roll over and go to sleep.  Your partner loves you unconditionally, but you just don’t feel good about yourself.  This has strained your relationship and now you and your partner are fighting all the time.   You deeply love your partner but you don’t feel healthy, happy or have the energy to bring to the relationship.   Yes, you know you need to change.

That’s a big WHY!  Having a big reason why that supports you in achieving your ideal life vision will be the fuel to your fire.  When your dreams are concrete and your reason to change is very important to you, then there is no room for excuses.

So a goal needs to be more than SMART.  It needs to come out of your dreams and passions.  Once you know what your heart really wants to have, do, or be, then you can get SMART.  Make your dream and your reason why specific and concrete.

Make it measurable by having a tracking system that shows that you are improving or consistently making changes in your behavior.

Attainable is easy because if you can dream it you can achieve it.

Relevant may be necessary if you need to break your goal down into smaller steps.  If you dream is to be an Olympic Power Lifter and you’ve never squatted, let’s start with the squatting goals.  But never lose site of the long term goal of being the Olympic Power lifter.

Time-bound goals can go out the window.  Why put limits on what you can achieve and how long it is going to take you.  I’ll lose 2 pounds a week and 8 pounds a month.  I know some people who have lost 5 pounds in a month and others who have lost 15.  No limits!  Just believe in your dream and do the steps to get there.  You will achieve it in the right amount of time.

I wish you all success with your 2014 goals, both determined, and not yet decided.  Live your best life by imagining what that would be like.  If that is difficult, then envision your worst nightmare life and choose the opposite.  The goal is for you to live a healthy, happy and fulfilling life.  Dream it and go for it!

~ Coach Amber