Goal setting can be used throughout our lives covering an array of areas, whether it is career goals, educational goals, sporting goals or our losing weight goals, the goal-setting process helps us understand where we are currently and also where we want to go. Having a short or long term goal can encourage an individual to work harder, to be more focused on the task and to overcome setbacks more easily. As part of this walking challenge you have signed yourself up to a short term goal of achieving 10,000 steps a day over the longer term of 6 weeks, hopefully this challenge is the start of your long term goal to keep up the walking daily once the six weeks are complete.
Setting goals are important because they can help you focus on what’s most important, increase your effort and motivation to stick with the plan, consider new strategies regarding how to accomplish your goals and help you track your progress. Goal setting is seen as an extremely powerful technique to teach you how to achieve optimal performance and is seen as one of the most important strategies you can implement for success in any environment.
Today, I am going to show you how to effectively set goals. So this week, you have gained an understanding of how many steps you do daily, perhaps it is around the 5,000 mark or perhaps it is around the 15,000 mark, your next mission is to sit down for a half an hour over the weekend and set YOUR short term and YOUR long term goals. While goal-setting is an easy concept to understand, its application needs more thought and planning than most people realise. If you don’t set goals you must start today. However, goal setting must be implemented correctly, to help implement them properly remember the key principles of goal setting: S.M.A.R.T.E.R.
Specific: To really focus your attention make your goals specific and indicate precisely what is to be done. Specific to you and specific to your goal and avoid vague and broad goals like ‘I want to lose weight’. This can be changed to “I want to lose 1.5 pounds each week and in total lose 9 pounds over the 6 week walking challenge” Being specific makes your goals objective which gives you something to aim for and aspire to. Give yourself a completion date and a deadline to complete the goal by.
Measurable: You should be able to quantify your goal: People have different goals for this walking challenge, for example, some want to get healthier, some want to lose weight, some enjoy the competition, some want to be challenged. Make goals specific, observable and in measurable terms. Be able to answer questions such as: how much do I have to do? when by? how will I know when it is accomplished? What is daily, weekly monthly goal?
Accepted/Attainable: Goals must be accepted as worthwhile, realistic and attainable. These goals meet the common sense test that they require a change in current practices or behavior to be achievable. You figure out ways to accomplish your goals by developing the attitudes, abilities, skills to reach them. For example at the start of this week you recorded your daily steps as 6,000, then don’t set your goal for next week as 15,000 steps a day as this may be unattainable, set your goal within what you know you can achieve if you push yourself.
Recorded: Write your goals down. This is the basis of a contract with yourself; ‘Ink it, don’t think it’ . This cannot be underestimated. The action of doing this reinforces your intent to complete the goal. It becomes a sort of contract that you feel obliged and committed to complete it. Write them down and put the goals on the wall. Again, every time you see them you further reinforce your commitment to the goal. Also, by writing them down you will not forget any goal and you get the satisfaction of ticking or crossing them off you have achieved them.
Time Constrained: Set specific time-limits; Is this goal to be accomplished by the end of today? The end of the week? or by the end of the 6 week walking challenge? Well stated goals should be timely.
Enjoyable: Remember these are your goals, you set them as it is something you want to achieve. This is your journey, enjoy the process and set small rewards each time you achieve a goal you feel proud of. Tap yourself on the back and say well done!!!
Reversible: In the event of injury, or failure to achieve over-difficult goals, reset your goals accordingly. Goals should not be “set in stone.”Goals should be made to be revised, and they should be used as a guide.
Well done for completing Week 1 of Stepping Out, Stepping Up challenge, hope you are feeling the benefits.