Creating SMARTER Goals

 by Karen Kondor

You’ve probably heard of SMART goals. But, what are SMARTER goals, and how can SMARTER goals help you with goal setting?

I learned about SMARTER goals in a Health Mindset Coaching course I took with Kasey-Jo Orvidas, and this rewrite on SMART goals really resonated with me.

SMARTER goals are:

Specific: Taking time to write down the specifics around your long term goal, AND the smaller, day-to-day goals that will help you reach that long term goal. Truly, long term goals are largely out of our control For example, you may want to reach 135lb on the scale, but there are SO many variables affecting that number, that it’s possible you may never see that number on the scale. BUT, you do have control over the things (i.e. habits, behaviors, and thought processes) you do on a daily basis that will help move you toward your goal.

Measurable: How will you monitor your progress toward your long term & short term goals? Any sort of tracking works here. And, the combo of tracking and an accountability buddy makes your goals even more measurable and attainable. Plus, an accountability buddy like a coach can help you zoom out to look at the bigger picture, while still focusing on the details that really matter. When we work on our own, we can get lost in the details, not knowing which ones to focus on, and totally forget about the bigger picture progress we are making.

Additive: Always create your goals around what is being ADDED to improve things, versus what is being taken away. For example, focusing on adding more fruit and veggies into your diet, rather than removing your daily cookies for dessert. Likewise, looking at adding gym time to your day as a way to increase your strength and energy levels, rather than taking away time from Netflix. Focus on the positive.

Rewarding: Ensure that the goals you set are personally rewarding, in line with your personal values, and don’t result in self-sabotage. For example, many folks set a reward of, “I will get myself a DW Blizzard when I reach my goal of 5lb weight loss, because I deserve it.” That kind of goal can set them up for feeding into self-sabotaging habits, or even a restrict-binge cycle, rather than giving themselves what they truly deserve, which is a healthier lifestyle than the one they are working to get out of. So, maybe instead of the Blizzard, it’s a new pair of workout shorts. Side note: if your nutrition plan doesn’t include the option of having a Blizzard at any time - not just as a reward - it might be time to revisit your nutrition plan.

Time-Bound: This is a tricky one. Having a date in mind to work toward can be helpful for some, but not helpful for others. Knowing that there is an end in sight can keep some people disciplined in working toward their goals. For others, it can be a threat that looms in the distance that scares them back into old habits. Decide what works best for you, and be okay with letting this piece of SMARTER goals go if it doesn’t feel right. Also, consider putting in place habits and behaviors and thought processes that will last a lifetime, don’t have an end date, and will serve you well in any phase of your life.

Efficacy: The best goal setting will see an increase in self-efficacy - a person’s ability to push through obstacles, and continue to work toward their goals. This is more than just being confident in what you’re doing; this is a deeper belief in oneself that you are capable of doing what you set out to do. Self-confidence is more surface level than self-efficacy.

Relative: Goals are not just things that are somewhere out there in a distant time. We need to always be thinking, not only about where we want to go, but also what we are going to do to get there. Consistently pulling ourselves back into the present, and thinking, “What can I be doing/thinking/saying in the NOW that will help me get to where I want to go?”

What goals do you have to create the best version of yourself? How can you use SMARTER goals to get there? Feel a bit stuck and in need of a hand? The coaches at Motivateandbfit are always available to help guide you. Reach out any time!

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