You have likely heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals. This is an acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, results-based and timely. What does this mean?
“I want to exercise more.” is not specific. “I want to exercise 15 minutes, five days a week.” is.
“I want to get healthy.” is not measurable. “I will lose 15 pounds and my ‘bad’ cholesterol will decrease 10 points.” is.
This is a tricky bugger because it varies from person to person. When I was a teen-ager I occasionally read Cosmopolitan magazine and I wanted to be like the girls on the cover. (Please do not tell my daughters; they think I sprung to life fully formed and unbelievably self confident.)
Way back in the day Cosmopolitan used to have a cover model bio in each issue that included the model’s measurements. Common measurements were 33-inch hips and 23-inch waists. I thought these women were beautiful (only those in the industry had heard of the crazy amounts photo manipulation we now know is common) and exercised excessively trying to reach those numbers. (Once again… Please do not tell my daughters.)
Fortunately by a relatively young age, 19 or 20, I had realized those numbers were completely unattainable for me and my body type. I was a thin, fit young woman with a 25-inch waist and 35-inch hips. I do not believe even a starvation-type diet could have gotten me thinner and I loved me too much by that point to ever risk my health for an unattainable benchmark.
My attainable goal was not to have a larger waistline when I delivered my second child than I did when I delivered my first child. (everyone I knew told me they got much larger during their second pregnancy) Because I was only competing with my own known abilities I was able to achieve that goal.
This is the “why” of your goal. Without a desirable outcome you will not be motivated to accomplish your goal when it gets difficult or inconvenient. Do not get hung up on how “grand” your reason should be. Yes, losing 50 pounds of belly fat so you can play with your kids is an incredible motivator. However, I am still (22 years later) proud of the fact that my waistline was the exact same size for my first two pregnancies and the anticipation of that very superficial pride was enough to make sure I did 500 sit-ups every day through six months of pregnancy and 1,000 a week for the last three months.
“I will lose 15 pounds and my ‘bad’ cholesterol will decrease 10 points.” is not timely. “I will lose 15 pounds and my ‘bad’ cholesterol will decrease 10 points within three months.” is.
I am going to take S.M.A.R.T. goals one step further and add a Y. to and make them S.M.A.R.T.Y. goals.
Your goals need to be YOUR goals to gain confidence when you accomplish them. You may train for and complete a marathon which is an amazing feat, however if you only did it because you are a decent long-distance runner and your significant other dragged you into it you may not even really consider it an accomplishment. Personal wins improve confidence so create goals that matter to YOU.
Creating and accomplishing goals you believe in will help illuminate your confidence.
Until next time…
Have a great day,
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