It is hard to believe how fast this year has flown by. It seems like just yesterday we were getting set to make our inevitable New Year’s resolutions that were sure to fail. I have to say for me though, this year has been a pretty good year when it has come to resolutions. For starters, I was dead set on getting healthy and losing weight. It took a lot of hard work and commitment, but as soon as I dedicated myself to the paleo lifestyle (yes I said lifestyle not diet), losing the weight was a piece of cake. 40 pounds later, I am the lightest I’ve ever been that I can remember and have never been happier health wise. In addition to the weight, I have been working really hard to get this blog/website launched. While the process is slow going, I have at least been able to get some articles up even while still working on the content, design, and my goals for the site.
Even though it is only the middle of October, I still think this is the best time of year to start planning out your goals for the year ahead. Think of it as strategic planning for yourself instead of a business. In a business, strategic planning can take up to a year. Why when it comes to planning out the our next year of life, shouldn’t we take a few months to collect our thoughts on where we are and where we want to be? Once we have a plan as to where we are going, we can begin to plan our route to get there successfully. Take the next couple of months to map out your goals and begin to gather the resources and steps necessary for success so that when that clock strikes midnight on January 1, you don’t end up already backing out of your resolutions.
The most simple way I have found to plan out goals is in the S.M.A.R.T. format. All this means that your goals are Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Don’t worry I’ll go into a little bit of detail below. When you start the process, maybe think about one goal in each aspect of your life, health/fitness, financial, social, mental, etc. If you get bogged down with too many goals overall, your less likely to achieve any of your goals.
Make sure your goal is as specific as possible. Don’t simply say you are going to lose weight. Tell us how much you are going to lose! By setting a specific number, you can 1. Determine if the goal is realistic, as well as plan out a timetable for how long it will take you to achieve the goal.
This is probably one of the most important steps is determining whether your goal is measurable. If you can’t measure your goal, how are you going to know whether you achieved it or not. A good example of a non-measureable goal is simply “I am going to get healthy this year”. So what are your measures for being healthy, is it your blood pressure, not getting diabetes, losing weight, improving your cholesterol? If you can’t measure your goals or set parameters to measure your goal, it probably isn’t a goal you are going to stick to.
You need to be realistic with yourself here. Setting a goal in essence is setting expectations for our success or failure later on down the road. Make sure your goal is something that can be achieved. Don’t expect to be able to go from bench pressing the bar to being able to bench press 300 pounds in one year! You don’t want to set the bar too high here but you also don’t want to leave it too low. Just know that if you reach your goal quicker than expected, you can always adjust and set new goals. It’s better to achieve your goal than to be left miles from the finish.
Why are you setting this goal? Does achieving this goal make you happy or is it merely pleasing someone else in your life? You need to set goals that are important to you and stop worrying about what others think. If your goal is to lose weight, make sure it’s because you want to lose the weight and not because your spouse has been calling you fat ass for the past few months. Dig down deep and ask your self a few questions. Who am I doing this for? Why am I doing this? How will I feel when I accomplish this goal? Will this goal improve my life in the long run?
Simply put, this means putting an end date on your goal. I want to lose x number of pounds by Easter. If you don’t put a period on your goal, you’ll never push yourself to accomplish it. Think about that midterm that was do in college. Were you more likely to procrastinate if the teacher gave you a week to write it or just said turn it in by the time you graduate? If you were given the latter option, who knows if you would ever graduate.