Every year, we get a chance to start on a clean slate. The question is, what will be written on that slate come year’s end? To make sure we fill our slate with worthwhile achievements, we need to plan for the year.
Plan for the year the SMART way
Saying “I want to get fit this year.” is vague. This is why many people’s resolutions fail. Instead, set a SMART goal.
A SMART goal is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
You have to be very clear what you want. It’s not enough to say “I want to be fit.” Do you want to be fit so that you can:
a) Enjoy participating in sports,
b) Feel and look good, or
c) Live to a ripe old age?
Knowing why you want something is a big part of developing the motivation to work on the goal. So a specific goal may be:
“I feel and look good because I am fit.”
How will you know when you have reached your goal? If the goal is to be fit, you can measure it in terms of:
a) your Body Mass Index (BMI)
b) how long you can run for without stopping
c) resting pulse rate
Building on the previous step, you now have a specific, measurable goal:
“I feel and look good because I am fit enough to run a marathon.”
It is better to set a small goal and achieve it, than a big one and miss it. Conversely, when you can see yourself hitting a smaller goal, you have great incentive to keep at it as you can almost taste success.
Based on your track record and current state, see if your goal needs adjusting. If you have never run anything more than 5km and are too busy to train seriously, a full marathon may not be achievable anytime soon. Perhaps you could settle for a half marathon of 21 km instead or even a quarter marathon of 10km.
Your specific, measurable, achievable goal may now be:
“I feel and look good because I am fit enough to run a half marathon.”
Double check to make sure that the goal is relevant to what you really want. If the purpose of running a half marathon is to look and feel good, don’t sabotaging yourself by having a huge meal after each training run.
Keep the goal relevant by making sure that when you achieve it, you will feel and look good. Write this down so that you won’t lose sight of the goal and get hung up on the marathon itself.
Your specific, measurable, achievable, relevant goal may now be:
“I feel and look good because I am fit enough to run a half marathon in a size 10 T-shirt.”
A goal is a dream with a deadline.
– Napolean Hill
Ours brain don’t take a goal seriously unless there is a deadline. Have you ever noticed that your most productive week at work is the week before you go for a long vacation?
Give your goal a deadline and you’re halfway there already. The deadline makes the goal a priority in your subconscious.
Your goal is now SMART. It may look like this:
“I feel and look good because I am fit enough to run a half marathon in a size 10 T-shirt by June 2021.”
Now isn’t that much better than just saying “I want to be fit”?
If you’re not sure what goals to set this year, review the past year first. Then choose 3 goals to work on in the coming year.