Get S.M.A.R.T, Get Happy
How to Set S.M.A.R.T Goals and Stay Motivated
We all have goals and aspirations that drive us, but some people seem to have this overpowering determination to succeed with positive energy to spare. Those people motivate themselves in the right way by having strong motivating factors and setting reasonable goals.
We already talked about some strong motivators in the Science of Motivation, but finding and keeping your motivation is more than just knowing what you’re fighting for.
The secret to staying motivated is making the right goals that enforce a positive mindset and energize you to keep going. Gymaholic shows you how to make goals you can achieve, so you can dream bigger, reach higher and work harder towards your own success and happiness.
People always say “I’m going to… --Be healthier!” “--Work out more!” “--Eat better!”. To me, these are not goals. These are large, vague statements that don’t have the same meaning for all of us, so we can’t use them as a goal point.
Put it this way. If there was a GPS system to guide you to your goal, you’d have to input an address or landmark to find a route to get you there. Instead of inputting a location, you’re just shouting “Take me there!” with no real definition of what or where ‘there’ is.
You need to create goals you can visualize and achieve. The best goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely (S.M.A.R.T)
The more specific the goal is, the better. Where are you going to work out? What exercises are you going to do? What do you plan to eat today? The more detail you have and the more questions you ask yourself, the easier it is to visualize and plan how you’re going to execute it.
Everything is measurable. How many reps, how many sets? How long are you playing/practicing for? How many times per week? How much are you eating? How often are you going to eat it? How many weeks/months will you do it for? Even vague measurements are a start, and better than none at all.
Attainable & Realistic
Logically, you need to think about whether you can attain or achieve this goal. This is not about discouraging yourself by saying ‘I can’t’, unless you physically cannot. Your goals need to be something realistic that you can see yourself accomplishing, because if you can’t, it’s possible that the goal is too large, and is more suited as a further goal, with more steps in between.
Can you afford a gym membership? Maybe do bodyweight workouts at home instead, for now. Is losing 20 lbs in a week unreasonable? Yes. Since technically speaking, most people can only healthily lose around 2-3lbs maximum in one week. Will you really start eating 4 servings of fruit a day, when right now you usually have 1? Maybe work up to 2 servings, a few times a week first.
Making your goals timely or ‘time-bound’ is focused on having a start and end point to your goal. Goals should not go on indefinitely. It’s like making a checklist and never being able to check anything off. It is boring and unmotivating.
Of course it’s great if you have a habit of going to the gym twice a week, and you don’t plan on stopping. If it’s already a solidified habit, don’t consider it a goal. Now that you’ve found some rhythm, focus on taking the next step up in your exercise routine, or increasing how often you go to the gym, maybe add in some healthy eating goals. Find something new to work towards.
How do SMART goals make you happy? Small shocks of positive reinforcement can do wonders for your motivation and confidence. It’s a small voice telling you that you’ve completed these goals, which means you can complete more goals and set your sights higher. It prompts you to believe in yourself and work harder.
There is nothing wrong with reaching for extreme end goals and big changes to your body, but you likely won’t see results right away, and it can take you a long time to reach that endpoint.
Slow progress is better than no progress, and often it’s better to take baby steps towards that larger goal instead of only focusing on that end point and becoming overwhelmed and quitting, without accomplishing anything at all.
If you’ve decided your destination but it’s on the other side of the country, you wouldn’t just start driving and hope for the best. You plan your route to get there, with multiple stops along the way. As many have said, “getting there is half the fun!”, so don’t forget to stop and rest, appreciating all the steps you’ve taken and how they all add up. You’ll gain a lot of your experiences and knowledge along the way.
Things won’t always go the way you want them to, and you’ll have to constantly re-evaluate and make new goals for yourself. Creating smaller Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely goals gives you positive reinforcement, motivating and energizing you to keep working towards those larger end goals.
Get S.M.A.R.T, Get Happy!