Setting Goals

Stay focused and motivated

“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps” – Confucius

Goals are important in life. Whether it’s a goal involving travel, a new career, financial security or a goal relating to your health and fitness, having a clear goal – or an endpoint – gives you something to aim for.

Goals motivate you. They give you focus and help you put in place the steps or actions you need to achieve your goal.

Let’s look at setting a goal. Be as clear as possible about what it is that you want to achieve, and how you’ll do it. A common acronym used for goal setting is SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed. Let’s look at an example of a SMART goal that relates to weight loss:

Specific – be specific. What is it you’re aiming for?

Ask yourself the 5 W’s – who, what, when, where, why:

  • What do you want to accomplish? Join a weight loss class and lose 5kgs. 
  • Why are you doing this? You have bad knees and the extra kilos makes them more painful. 
  • Who will be involved to help you? Doctor, weight loss class, family and friends. 
  • When will you do this? Attend the weight loss class that meets every Monday at 7pm. 
  • Where will you do this? The class meets in the local hall.

Measurable – you need to be able to measure your goal so that you know when/if you’ve achieved it. Losing weight is not a measurable goal, but losing 5kgs in 8 weeks is. You’re able to track your weight loss and the timeframe.

Achievable – your goal needs to be something that’s achievable for you. It should challenge you and stretch you a little, but should be something that’s attainable, e.g. losing 20kgs in 2 weeks isn’t achievable, however, losing 5kgs in 8 weeks is.

Realistic – your goal needs to be doable – for you and for your own circumstances. Losing 5kgs in 8 weeks is realistic for you because you’ve discussed it with your doctor, you’re committed (you know it’ll help ease your pain), you’ve enrolled in a weight loss class for information and support and you’ve joined a water exercise class so that you can exercise without making your knees more painful.

Timed – your goal needs to have a timeframe. Losing weight someday is not a timed goal. Having a timeframe, e.g. 8 weeks, gives you motivation and helps keep you on track.

Now it’s your turn. Think about a goal that’s important to you.

Using the SMART system, write down your goal and the steps you need to get there. Stick it on your fridge, bathroom mirror or someplace you’ll see it often. Refer to it regularly. Try to stay focused and keep on track. If you have any hiccups along the way, that’s okay, don’t give up. Just refer back to your goal and move on.

You’ve now taken the first steps towards achieving your goal. Good luck!

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