Setting S.M.A.R.T. New Years Resolutions!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Years Eve!

Can you believe it is almost 2011?? I just go used to writing 2010. I love the start of the New Year and the opportunity it gives you to start fresh. In the past, I have been guilty of making hollow New Years Resolutions like, "lose weight." "get toned (what does that really mean anyway)," "eat healthier." etc. etc. But not this year! I have really been spending some quality brain storming time on this years resolutions, and how I am actually going to achieve them.

This year, I am going to use the S.M.A.R.T method of goal setting (or New Years Resolution making in this case) for all of my resolutions. No more vague, half hearted resolutions for me! I am still fine tuning my resolutions and game plane on achieving them, so that will be included in my next post. But for today, let's talk about how to set S.M.A.R.T goals for 2011.


Setting specific goals is crucial. Sure, we all want to "lose weight," but technically you could lose one pound and achieve that goal. Setting specific goals gives you direction, and something more concrete to strive for. Try to make sue all of your goals answer these three questions:

1. What specifically are you going to accomplish? (lose 10 lbs, run a 1/2 marathon in under 2 hours, bench press 150lbs)
2. Why is this important? (lower your blood pressure, reduce your risk of diabetes, place higher in your next race, bench more than your older brother)
3. How are you going to do this? (work out 5 days a week, follow a structured training plan)


Having measurable goals means ensuring that you can check in on your progress from time to time.
The largest fallback of unspecific goals is that they are hard to measure. And when you can't track a vague goal, you can't see how close or you are to sweet success. This eventually leads to frustration, boredom, and, ultimately, failure. As soon as you've set a specific goal, map out some testing points. If your goal is to run a faster 10K, do a trial run every few weeks. If you want to lose 20 pounds in 6 months, record your body weight at regular intervals to track your progress and adjust your plan as necessary. Being measurable is an extension of being specific. If your goal is not specific, how can you possibly know if you're any closer to attaining it?


Now we have specific goals that we can measure, but that still doesn't do us any good if we set goals we can't actually reach. For example, I know I will never run a 1/2 marathon in under 1:30, so making that one of my goals for 2011 is just setting myself up for failure. Creating attainable but still challenging goals will ensure success and ensure you feel successful as well. Setting too tough of a goal will make you feel like a failure, however setting a really easy goal will leave you feeling empty.

"The point of an attainable goal is that it challenges you, makes you commit to it, and produces an overwhelming feeling of success when it's accomplished that you take the new found confidence with you wherever you go - to the bar, to work, to the corner store where you'll run into that hot neighbour two months from now." -Neil Tate


This kind of goes along with the achievable principle. Sure, I would love to be a runway model, but the fact that I stopped growing at 5 foot 6 inches, and look more like a linebacker than a ballerina means that it's never going to happen. Even if I could somehow look like a supermodel, do I really want to give up almond butter and wedding cake for the rest of my life? NO I don't! When you are setting goals, ask yourself these three questions:

1. Am I actually capable of achieving this goal?
2. Do I have the necessary skills to do so?
3. Do I really want to do this? (i.e compete in a fitness competition if it means you can never have cake?)

Just because something is a New Years Resolution, doesn't mean you have to give yourself all year to accomplish it. By limiting the time you have to accomplish a goal you have a fixed timetable to work within and the sense of urgency that will keep you on track and drive you to work harder. I think this is one of the most important principles. If you don't give yourself a deadline, you can always "work out later," or "eat better tomorrow." If there is no end date, how do you know if you ever achieved your goal?

Another important aspect in goal setting, is mapping out a plan for how you are going to achieve it. For each of my New Years Resolutions, I am going to write out three steps I am going to take to accomplish my goal.

For example, if one of your goals is to lose 10 lbs by May (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely), your 3 steps could be:

1. Attend a cardio class 3 times a week.
2. Strength train on my own 2 times a week.
4. Pack my lunch the night before so I have a healthy lunch to take with me to work.
Now you have laid out exactly how you are going to achieve your goal. I know it might sound silly to think that hard about a New Years Resolution, but why set one at all if you don't put the necessary thought behind it?

Have you liked Fun, Fit and Fabulous on Facebook yet? Stay up-to-date on all of the new things going on here in 2011!

Questions of the day
Have you thought about your New Years Resolutions yet?
Do you usually write them down?

In health,

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