At some point in your life, I am sure that you have heard of SMART goals. SMART goals are often used in the workplace, by coaches, motivational speakers and/or school. You may not be familiar with the term, but you have likely encountered this framework for goals. It’s so widespread because … it works.
It’s quite possible that even though you’ve heard about SMART goals, you might not actually understand how they work or the importance of them. By the end of this article you’ll know exactly how to establish SMART goals in your own life, as well as better understand how a health coach uses them with their clients.
Let’s start by defining the S.M.A.R.T. acronym:
Specific: Define exactly what it is you’re working on. It’s not vague, such as “I want to be fit.” Instead, It might be something more like “I would like to be more fit by running”.
Measurable: This helps with tracking progress. How will you know if you have achieved the goal if there is no metric attached?
Action-based: Knowing the small steps you’ll take to achieve is helpful in guiding you to where you want to go. How can you break down the outcome goal into actionable steps?
Realistic: Is this goal realistic for you, considering everything else you have going on in your life? Is it realistic geographically, monetarily, etc?
Time-bound: It’s important to have deadlines for your goals. When will you start? When will it end? Not having timeframes established, allows opportunity for your goal to slip to the bottom of your priority list. In most instances the goal will never actually get accomplished.
A SMART goal example:
This week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I will run 1 mile in the morning before work to work on improving my cardio fitness level.
Now that you know what each letter stands for and their definition let’s dive into the WHY behind the importance of using SMART goals in achieving lasting results.
SMART goals are for you if:
👉 Your daily habits are causing you to revolve instead of evolve
👉 You find that you are just going in circles instead of moving forward
Do you find that you’re in the same rut week after week, month after month, despite having a goal?
Lack of forward motion is discouraging and can make you feel hopeless. You know that there are some changes you want or need to make in your life. Maybe you’re hoping to experience less stress or maybe you have a chronic disease and your doctor has recommended lifestyle changes.
I feel you. I hear you. I see you.
Even as a health & wellness coach, I get frustrated when I haven’t been able to accomplish a goal. Negative self-talk hits and I tear myself apart for not achieving said goal.
After I have thrown a million rocks at myself, I step back and take a moment to revisit the habit I wanted to change. I evaluate why I wasn’t successful.
Do you have "ALL-or-NOTHING syndrome"?
JOIN THE CLUB. I suffer from ALL or NOTHING syndrome and it holds me back from progress. As I am unlearning this, I am discovering that balance in my life helps me thrive.
When I make an all or nothing goal and it doesn’t work out, I tend to discover the goal required unrealistic habits for my life.
all-or-nothing syndrome holds me back from progress.
When setting or revisiting goals, I ask myself these questions: