The other secret to Living Well Doing Well is the setting of goals to help keep you on track to getting what you want in life. What is it that you want more of or less of in your life that will make you feel more fulfilled and happier in your own skin? When you set SMARTe goals, you become accountable for what you want to see happen. They help to move you along till you come to the day when you finally achieve what it was you wanted in the first place. And that’s awesome!
First things, first. You need to be able to identify what it is you really want before you can frame your desire into a goal or goals you really want to achieve. In this way, come hell or high water, you will find yourself wanting to stay on track, becoming immovable in your desire for a better reality. So take your time and ask yourself what it is you really, really want and only then will you be motivated to achieve it. And the next step is to translate it into a SMARTe goal.
It is said that a goal is just a dream till you take action. For a goal to become a SMARTe goal, it means total involvement from you. You’ll soon see why when you understand what it stands for.
Be clear and specific in what you want. Let me add a couple of questions here to help you along: What do I want to accomplish? Why is it important to me? For example, you might want to feel better so losing excess weight has become a priority. But by how much and when? Here you might say, “I want to lose 10 kg in 30 days time and this is what I am going to do in terms of the way I eat and exercise.” Your goal to lose weight is now translatable into action and a timeline.
A goal that can be measured will allow you to evaluate progress and make any corrections to get you back on track. For example, in order to eat more healthily, you might set a goal of cooking dinner in for two evenings each week and eschew takeouts.
A goal should be actionable. It is an end-point that you work towards using specific actions. Identify what these actions are. For example, for better fitness, you might make it a goal to walk at least 6 miles a day.
A goal has relevance when it is closely aligned with your values. So, if you are trying to lose excess weight, ask yourself: How is this goal meaningful to me? Your answer might be that you want to look and feel better and not run the risk of developing diabetes. Let’s dig in a little deeper: Does the goal match your needs and values? And this might lead you to say, it sure does because being healthy means freedom to work, travel and do the things you like. It means a great deal to you that you don’t lose your independence to an illness.
A goal is given a timeframe for you to achieve it which then translates into smaller day-to-day steps. For you, the goal of losing 10 kg in 30 days’ time means you are going to hold yourself accountable and to stay on track by asking yourself: What do I have to do to achieve it? In those 30 days, do you know what little steps you’d be taking? Like cutting down on chocolates and desserts and choosing healthier options on a daily basis? Like keeping track of your weight on a daily basis?
Frankly, for a goal to create fire in your belly to the point that come what may, you’re going to achieve it, well that is known as a passionate goal. It means you are going to need to get emotionally involved. How excited are you about this goal? Do you feel inspired and motivated to accomplish it? Are you able to keep motivation high throughout the timeframe you’ve set for your goal? Perhaps at this point, you might give me a shy look and confess that yes, there is more to this goal than just wanting to be healthy. Maybe there’s someone you like a lot and you want to look your best for her.
Keeping track of progress with a journal
And there you have it! A SMARTe goal that keeps your juices flowing to get you to your end-point. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a small or big goal, it’s still the same process. Now, all you have to do is follow through to the next important step which is tracking your progress in a journal. Make it a practice to note down on a daily basis what you feel, did, said, planned, or even failed to keep up with your goal. A study carried out showed that those who documented their inner journey in this way were on average 33 percent more successful in accomplishing their goals compared with those who simply thought about their goals. It doesn’t matter whether you choose to put pen to paper or fingers to a keyboard.
The ultimate secret
Whatever it is, this entire process is the secret to achieving anything you put your heart and ming to. It begins with knowing what it is you truly want and why it matters to you that you should have it. Then putting it down where you can literally ‘see’ your progress. Of course, there’s more we can do, like, learning to visualise the end-point and revisiting that imagery in your mind of a svelte you dropping 2 sizes, in the 5 minutes just before you drop off to sleep every night. Does it work? Well, why not give it a try and see the results for yourself? You might find yourself totally astounded!
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