Setting and Attaining Your SMART Goals for 2020
Whether you're an annual resolution person, goal-setter, or go-getter, or not - setting your intentions and understanding your desires is an important aspect of cultivating the life you want. There are, however, some important things to consider while setting goals and intentions for the new year to make sure they are sustainable, attainable, and worth your drive and efforts.
Start with WHY
The first and most important part of setting goals, and the part that is most often overlooked, is stating your WHY? Do you know why you want to achieve the goals you have set out for yourself? For example, do you want to lose 10 pounds to look better? feel more confident? to reduce your cardiovascular risk? to keep up with your kids or grandkids? or all of the above. Maybe you want to reduce your carbon footprint because you want your children and their children to enjoy the lakes, oceans, and forests like you did. Now consider how achieving your goals will make you feel? Can you feel the emotion and imagine that reality? If you can't, maybe it's not the right goal for you or maybe you have to personalize it further. Connect your goals with your values and beliefs, make them authentic to you. Whatever your reasons are for setting your 2020 goals - state them. Write them down, and be clear what your motivations behind making these changes or actions will be. You'll need them when things begin to slip in a month or two.
Your "why" will keep you motivated and inspired by reconnecting you to your values.
Setting SMART Goals
Following the SMART-goal outline allows you to fully understand the details and how-to of achieving your goals. It's stating the what, when and how of each goal or intention you have set for yourself. It's a way of forming a path to get to where you want to go. I'll take you through an example of how to set a SMART goal. Be clear and concise, the more specific you can be, the better. It creates a vision of the reality you want to cultivate.
"Passion is the wind in your sails, and practicality is the rubber. You need both to get where you're going" - Danielle Laporte
Specific - Make your goals as specific as possible, stating every detail. Instead of saying you want to "reduce your carbon footprint" - maybe try "reducing your carbon footprint by 25% by biking/walking to work 2-3x's a week and cutting your single-use plastic use by 2/3". See how "reducing your carbon footprint" is harder to imagine than the latter statement?
Measurable - are your goals measurable? How will you measure them? How often will you measure them? Measurable goals keep you accountable. They guide you in the direction you need to go by giving you real-time feedback on where you are in relation to and where you are going.
Attainable - setting attainable goals is probably the most import piece, yet to most challenging to identify. Consider asking yourself these three crucial questions:
1.) What is my level of commitment to this goal?
2.) What is my level of self-motivation in achieving this goal?
3.) How confident am I that I can achieve this goal?
Grade each - This is how your goals connect to your greater self. Compare your "why" statement(s), with the goals you have set for yourself. For example, will losing 10 pounds actually make you more confident? Will reducing your carbon footprint align with your values and beliefs? If not, consider altering goals or finding creative ways of achieving your desires. feels. Keep altering your goals until you are at least 8/10 confident you can actually attain them. Doing this mental exercise sometimes sheds some light on the challenges you may have to overcome - will you have to buy a new gym membership? hire a personal trainer? Get more medical advice? etc. Additionally, your overall level of vitality and resilience will reflect how ambitious you are. Maybe it's been a tough year with financial or relationship strains, maybe you've experienced a lot of stress at work, or haven't been sleeping well. All of these aspects will affect how hard you want to push yourself, without feeling like your over-doing it.
Relevant - This is how your goals connect to your greater self. Compare your "why" statement(s), with the goals you have set for yourself. For example, will losing 10 pounds actually make you more confident? Will reducing your carbon footprint align with your values and beliefs? If not, consider altering goals or finding creative ways of achieving your desires.
Timely - Set a date that you hope to achieve your goals by. Remember, it doesn't have to be a one-year goal, in fact, keeping closer timelines keeps you more engaged and driven. Leaving your goals all for January of 2021 seems like a long way away and may allow for procrastination or loss of motivation. Setting 2-6 week goals as well as longer-term goals (2-6 month goals), helps you track your progress as you go, and celebrate the little wins along the way. After all,
"Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome."- Arthur Ashe
Outcome vs. Procedural Goals
On the note of journey's being more important than destinations, consider not just your outcome goals, but your procedural goals. I.e., what goals will you set for yourself that will ultimately get you to your final goal? For example: Lose 10 pounds in the next 6 months would be your outcome-based goal (the goal that states the ultimate outcome you desire from your hard work). A procedural goal, on the other hand, is the how-to of getting you to your outcomes. For example: Go to the gym 3 days a week and take a long walk 2 days a week for the next 6 months, or eat one large salad for lunch or dinner 3 times a week, and drink 8 cups of water throughout the day. These are great examples of procedural goals. These goals can have much shorter timelines to help you stay on track. Each time you accomplish a procedural goal - celebrate it! If you go for three months with only skipping a day or two in the gym, fantastic! Reward yourself with a new pair of sneakers, a night away, or simply journal how it feels to commit to yourself and your goals. Enjoy the process of becoming.
Social Support and Accountability
As humans, we are social beings. We are wired to be connected with our communities and the people around us. To help make your goals a reality, share them with the friends and family around you. Talk about your goals and desires with others, share your story. Make sure you share your story with someone who will genuinely support you. This may be a spouse, partner, good friend, or maybe it's a coach, trainer or health professional. Find the person that will help pick you up when you're down because you can't do it alone.
I'll leave you with this to consider. How might you react if you fall short of your goals? What will your reaction be to "failure"? Being overly hard on ourselves or striving for perfection sets ourselves up for disappointment and negative self-talk. Self-compassion allows you to pick yourself up and dust yourself off and say "I am trying my best" and keep going. Failures are where we learn and grow — if we allow ourselves to. Try talking to yourself as though your best friend or partner would, with empathy and compassion. It may just be the single most important thing you do for yourself.
"Sometimes the key to getting where you want to go is simple: keep going" - Dean Karnasis
Are health goals at the top of your 2020 list?
Let's make a plan to make those a reality!
Book a consultation now so we can discuss your health goals and find effective solutions for your health concerns.
Looking forward to what 2020 will bring!
Dr. Randi Brown, ND