The month of March for my clients was dedicated to a Pre-Spring Challenge.
The challenge was to take one bad food/habit out, put one good food/habit in, and complete a weekly activity goal. When it comes to training, habits, or nutrition, I’d never put my clients through something that I haven’t experienced or done myself. So, of course, I joined in.
My goals were to take out Wheat products, eat an apple a day, and run a total of 10 miles per week. The one thing that slipped my mind was not to just create these goals to attain, but to create them with the SMART structure in mind.
S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Realistic. Timely.
So let’s take a look at my goals and see if they meet the criteria:
SPECIFIC – YES. There’s no grey area when it comes to my goals. It's exactly what I want to accomplish. No Wheat. Apple a day. 10 Miles a Week.
MEASURABLE – YES. I can take a look at ingredients; if it has wheat, I can’t have it. One apple per day; the measurement is in the description. 10 Miles a week; making sure I complete throughout the week regardless if it’s all in one day or spread out. The progress can be tracked.
ATTAINABLE – UMM…..let’s take a look at this. Anytime you make a goal, you want to assess your life and schedule. After you do so, you have to BE HONEST with yourself and make sure you set yourself up for success. Small wins are exponentially better for your psyche than little failures. Don’t get me wrong, reaching for the stars is great thing, but make sure you at least give yourself a running start before you try to take off. That being said, were the goals attainable Yes, but the better question is are they Realistic?
REALISTIC – After you assess your life and create your goals, you need to find out how realistic they are. Knowing your life before these goals were created, the schedule you have on a daily basis, the other factors in your life of high priority (kids, spouse, 2nd job, clients, etc.), would you be able to consistently meet the goals you set? If there is any doubt, the best thing to do is reassess and modify them to make it more realistic without under-achieving. When it came to my goals, the no wheat wasn’t an issue considering I don’t consume much wheat outside of wraps, which was substituted with rice wraps. Apple a day was tough; considering I don’t work in an area with fresh fruit, the apples were something that would have to be prepped on a weekly and daily basis. This is doable, however there’s room for error. 10 miles a week would be realistic if I didn’t have an inconsistent schedule with work and training. Again, this is doable, but still room for error short and long term.
TIMELY – YES. Simple. Create a deadline or timeline. For this challenge it was a month. Because of that, you mentally know there’s an “end” in sight and can focus on completing your goals with urgency and intent.
In conclusion, the best way to create a habit of success is to CREATE SUCCESS. Choose goals that will challenge you but aren’t too far off from what you are capable of doing. Once you succeed at those goals, then you can bring it to the next level and Beyond. Don’t give yourself room for excuses, assess your life, set yourself up to succeed, and be SMART about it!