Did you start the year off super motivated to finally smash those #lifegoals, but have already found yourself struggling to keep up your new habits? The start of a new year always inspires us to set major goals and rekindle that one resolution we never end up sticking to. So how do we break this pattern and finally smash those goals? The answer: SMART Goals!
How do SMART Goals work?
A 2014 study showed that 76% of people who wrote down their goals and tracked their weekly progress ended up achieving those goals. Why? Because writing down goals and breaking them down into the SMART structure makes it crystal clear what we want to achieve, and when we want to achieve it by.
For something to be a SMART Goal, it needs to be: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. For many of us, we set goals like “I want to lose weight” or “I’m going to eat healthier”, but the issue with these goals is that they’re too vague. And because we haven’t written down clear steps on how to achieve them, we often go to extremes to try and make them happen.
Creating your SMART Goal
The first step is to actually write your goal down. It needs to be something measurable, so if your goal is to lose weight, you need to write down a number, say 5kg. Then, you’ve got to assess whether your goal is achievable. Are you committed to making it happen? Do you have a network of people to support you?
The next step is deciding whether what you want to achieve is realistic – and this will all depend on your timeframe. Losing 5kg is quite often very realistic, but it’s not something you can achieve in one week. Set yourself a reasonable amount of time to achieve your goal and then set yourself a completion date to hold yourself accountable. Make sure to log your progress every couple of weeks to make sure you’re staying on track!
So, now we know how important it is to write down our goals, track their progress and set completion dates. But what about those bigger goals we set, like losing 20kg, or saving $20k? At face value these seem like monstrous tasks, but when broken down into smaller, bite-sized goals, they seem more realistic and achievable. Plus, every time you tick off one of these smaller goals, you know you’re one step closer to your major achievement.
A good way to do this is to write down something you’re going to do daily, weekly, and monthly to achieve your ultimate goal. If your goal is weight loss, this could be as simple as scheduling in some kind of movement every day, or if your goal is financial, opting to buy your lunch at work one day a week instead of five. Doing something little every day is how we build long-term habits and eventually create the lives we want to live!
Define Your WHY
Even more important than having structure for your goal, is to have a clear reason WHY it’s so important for you to achieve. Do you want to lose weight so you can be more active with your kids? Or do you want to save so you can quit your job and go travelling? No one has to know your reason except you, but being honest with yourself as to what your why is, will give you something to keep you going on the days you feel like giving up.
Create A Reward System
While there’s nothing more rewarding than finally achieving something after months and months of hard work, it’s a good incentive to create a little reward system for yourself along the way. If you know you’ve been consistent and consciously making progress towards your goal, there’s no reason why you can’t #treatyourself each month with a little something that doesn’t take away from your major goal.
Even better, decide on one big reward you’re going to give yourself once you officially say “I did it!”