Goal Setting: The S.M.A.R.T. Way

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Big dreams and no plan?

I've done it and I've seen it done many times. It's great to dream big but it might not be so great to goal big.

Do you want to lose weight? Or "eat better?" Great! But what's more important to focus on is the steps that will get you there!

I wanted to share an example of this:

I have some health goals I'm working towards, and am designing myself a plan in a similar way I do for clients. I thought I'd share the process with you!

My goals:
- increase energy
- increase strength & cardio
- increase productivity

Now these are pretty vague goals and they're really more long term outcomes than goals. There's nothing actionable in there. So let's break it down.

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So first I look at differential diagnosis, ie. why am I/my client feeling this way or what's missing and keeping me from my goal? If you have trouble with this part having a nutritionist or naturopath on your healthcare team can be helpful.

ENERGY

Let's start with energy. I know there are a few underlying causes to rule out here: thyroid imbalance & iron deficiency are common causes of low energy, so a step here is to make an appointment to have those tested. I also know too much coffee and not enough water will lead to low energy, so I'm going to aim for 2L water per day and switch to 1/2 caf. Not eating enough or enough of the right foods will also cause low energy so I'm going to use some of my own meal plans to keep me on track.

ACTIVITY

Now activity. I've been behind a computer or at a desk A LOT in the last few months and I haven't made physical activity a priority. I'd love to go to yoga every day and the gym a couple times a week, but initially that goal is too big. In my clinical practice and in my personal life I've learned the importance of meeting yourself where you're currently at, determining where you want to be, and taking small steps to get there. I knew that if I tried to go to the gym 5x/week after not being in a year it would feel stressful and my body would hate me. So I'm bringing movement back into my life slowly. I set my goal at a walk daily and yoga once this week.

PRODUCTIVITY

As far as productivity my mornings are my most productive time and I haven't been utilizing them as well as I should. The energy piece will also help with this, as will scheduling my time for specific projects. So I'm going to set a morning routing of getting up 15 minutes earlier, going for a walk and doing a 5 minute mediation to get my morning started.

So from all this information I start developing a short term plan, that is a step by step process to get me where I want to go, not an overnight fix.

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First on my list was:

  • buy a new water bottle (it's great to set a goal of 2L but what daily changes will help you get there?)
  • make an appointment for lab testing
  • buy 1/2 caf coffee (if you want to consume something, step one is to get it in your house!)
  • set alarm for 15 minutes earlier
  • schedule in my agenda specific times for each project in the priority I need to complete them
  • find an online yoga series I like

Once I took those steps I made my habit list for the first week and put it in my agenda:

  1. 2L water per day
  2. 5 min mediation every morning
  3. 30 min yoga 1x this week

This might not seem like much, but establishing LASTING change happens slowly and these are actionable, measurable, specific steps. There's no grey zone as to what I need to do. As soon as these habits feel natural, I'll layer onto them and keep going until I reach my goals.

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WHY?

I also think it's really important to establish your WHY. Why do you want to get to your goals? If you know this and hold it clearly in your mind it will help keep you on track. I'm going to Portugal in June and I want to feel confident but also be able to do the activities I love while we're there (hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding) without getting tired. I LOVE my job, but I need energy, creativity and to be productive in order to do it well (and I have lots to share in the next couple months!)

This is the habit planner I print and tape into my planner: http://www.passionplanner.com/get-habit-tracker-pdf. If you prefer using your phone I like the app Habit Share (but personally I prefer paper).

The best advice I can give when trying to reach your health goals is to acknowledge where you're currently at, decide where you want to go and take manageable steps to get there.

Oh, and remember to celebrate the targets you set as you hit them! (this step is important)

Wishing you all the health & happiness in the world,

Amy x