As we ring in the new year, it can be overwhelming to start setting new goals and habits. You may be familiar with SMART goals, a common technique used in goal-setting. This framework can help you better organize and plan out the steps to success, no matter the goal.
So what exactly are SMART goals?
The acronym stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.
Specific: Clearly define your goal with details on who, what, where, when, and why. Clarity is key. Instead of “I want to lose weight,” be more specific with “I want to lose 10 lbs by March 1st by strength training 3 times a week and meal prepping on Sundays.”
Clarifying your objective helps you understand exactly what needs to be done to reach your goal.
Measurable: Quantify your goal. Set criteria to measure progress, using numbers or tangible indicators. “I want to get bigger muscles” may be a goal for a lot of people this winter, but making it a measurable goal such as, “I want to add 2 inches to my arms by May 2024 by incorporating a new biceps and triceps program two days a week” allows for measurable results and easily track progress along the way.
Attainable: Make your goal challenging yet feasible with your current resources and experience. Setting an overly ambitious goal like committing to 5am gym sessions 6 days a week as a beginner may set you up for failure. Beginning with a more achievable goal, such as attending a group class three times a week, establishes a solid foundation and builds momentum and confidence as each milestone is reached.
Realistic: Avoid setting unrealistic objectives that lead to frustration. Instead of aiming for drastic immediate weight loss, opt for a realistic goal like "lose 10 pounds by March 1 by adhering to my diet and lifting program." Recognizing that shedding weight takes time, just as gaining it did, prevents potential disappointment in setting virtually impossible goals.
Time-bound: Set a clear timeframe. Declaring a deadline helps create an urgency to prioritize and stay committed to a goal. Instead of an open-ended commitment like “I want to be shredded this summer,” state “I will lower my body fat to 12% by June 1 by adjusting my macros to “x”.” Time-bound goals prevent procrastination, helping you stay focused and dedicated to achieving any goals you set for 2024.
Simply writing down your SMART goal actually makes you 42% more likely to achieve it. So, jot down your goals and set yourself on the path to achievement.
Some extra Titan tips for crushing your goals:
Add, Don’t Restrict:
It’s all about your mindset. Instead of focusing on what you need to take away in order to reach your goals, focus on what you can add to enrich your life and get you closer to your goals. Rather than looking at a diet change as, “I have to cut out sugar, carbs, soda, bread, etc.” try going for a different approach. “I will add a protein source of ~20g to each meal I have and ensure I drink at least a gallon of water a day.” This mindset of abundance and implementing positive additions to your routine compared to restricting and removing can alleviate the pressure that comes with adopting new habits.
Whether it's with a group, friend, partner, or even involving your family, accountability can be a powerful motivator. Instead of feeling restricted by the idea of holding yourself accountable, use this opportunity for shared success and growth with a friend. Or consider starting an initiative at work; everyone appreciates a little friendly competition and having a prize on the line can give an added push to stay on top of crushing your goals. This shared accountability fosters a supportive environment, making the journey of goal-setting more enjoyable and sustainable.