“If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.” Yogi Berra
I was reading Becky’s blog with a post from 6 months ago and realized that we pretty much all do the same thing. We do great when we are following the program and then for some reason old habits sneak back in. My realization today was that just like a business plan, a budget or anything else in life that you are working towards need specific guidelines and intentions. My journey to wellness, in order to be part of my life needs to have a blueprint and even though I am beginning again with a more regimented schedule. I know that when it becomes routine is when things start to slip. So even if I put a time driven intention to a more regimented schedule, once that timeframe is up, the intention will need to be in place to “check-in” with myself in a different timeframe that is set forth, because waiting 6 months, or a year is just too long and by then, yes….we are back at square one. Check-points must also be worked into my lifestyle. Do you hear that Shawna? A 12-week program is great, but then start over again with SMART intentions that are less regimented but still hold you accountable. This is why setting specific intentions, measurable, achievable, realistic and time driven (SMART) intentions are essential for being successful.
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Achievable
R = Realistic
T = Time Driven
The more specific you can be the more it will help you focus on your effort and clearly define what you are going to do. Instead of setting a general goal to lose weight or be healthier, set a specific goal to lose 2 lbs per week or take off 2 inches on your waistline or to walk 3 miles at a challenging pace.
If you can’t measure it, you won’t be able to manage it. Choose a goal with measurable progress, so you can see the change occur. Then pull out the scale, tape measure or smaller pair of pants and see how your goal measures up.
If your goals are too far out of reach you probably won’t be able to make the commitment to accomplish them. Your goal should stretch you slightly but just enough to feel like you can accomplish it with a real commitment. Then when you do achieve that goal you will feel successful and feelings of success, not failure are what keep you motivated.
Realistic does not mean “easy.” Realistic, in this case, means “do-able.” A goal of never again eating sweets, cakes, and chocolate may not be realistic if you really enjoy these foods. It may be more realistic to set a goal of eating a piece of fruit each day instead of one sweet item. You can then choose to work towards reducing the amount of sweets gradually and realistically.
Setting a timeline for reaching your goal (i.e. in a week or over 12 weeks) provides an end point and a clear target to work towards. Without a timeline, you’ll feel you can start at any time, and you’ll lose your sense of urgency. Telling others your timeline also helps keep you on purpose. Ask them to check in with you at certain dates to confirm you’re on track.