“I’m going to start on Monday!”
How many times have you heard this phrase? Have you said it to yourself or someone else? Most importantly, how often have you kept to those plans? According to a US News & World Report, 80 percent of resolutions fail within the first month.
But have you wondered why goals fail so easily? What’s the secret to making goals that actually stick? (Hint: It’s not only willpower or discipline.)
Let’s discover how to be SMART about successful goal-setting—and how your health coach can support you through your journey.
First Mind-Opener: “Clearer goals are easier to achieve.” The first step is to understand: How could you make SMART goals that are clearer? You’ll need a generous serving of ‘specificity.’ Being specific means describing in great detail what you intend to do. This helps you to visualize what success looks like! To start off, you can write on a sticky note: “I will run around the park near my house,” which is more specific than “I will go for a run.”
Then, carefully add one portion of measurability. For example, “I will run 3 rounds around the park near my house” is more measurable than “I will run around the park near my house.” This is also really useful when you’re checking on your progress later.
We’re now ready for the next segment—making goals that are aligned with your “why”! For lifelong changes, consider that goals need to fit around your lifestyle, not the other way around.
Second Mind-Opener: “Clearer goals which matter to you will be easier to achieve.” This is where you add your very own spin to these goals. The following components will need to reflect your personal motivation, desire, ability, and resources. Your goals should matter most to you, not to anyone else.
Make sure your goals are attainable—striking a balance between goals that are way too easy and goals that challenge you! If you’re starting out, having attainable goals can help you to start off on the right foot, and build on a strong foundation of success. You may need to come back occasionally and re-evaluate your goals with your health coach, in order to help you reach your full potential at a pace which is tailored to your needs. You could even work towards a “stretch” goal, something that feels just slightly out of reach, in order to realize what you’re truly capable of.
Make sure your goals are realistic, in order to achieve what truly matters to you. If your eventual goal is to run a half marathon, you’ll need to make smaller goals that work up to this bigger goal. For example, depending on your baseline fitness, you may be more comfortable with walking or a slow jog at shorter distances. But if your eventual goal were to build upper body strength, building a training plan around running is unlikely to help achieve that. And of course, there’s no harm in adding it to your exercise routine to jazz things up!
Finally, remember to set time limits onto your goal. You can make it a single instance (e.g. tonight, by 8pm) or you could repeat this step over a period of time (e.g. three times a week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday). Your Fitbit Health Coach can help you set up incremental, bite-sized changes that make up your action-plan for sustained changes. You can check off these goals when you accomplish them, or make adjustments along the way if necessary.
Bigger goals start from smaller goals, so enjoy the process. Being healthy should never feel like a chore, so remember to reward yourself meaningfully and never be afraid to go back to the drawing board with a fresh set of eyes if you’re feeling stuck.
One setback doesn’t mean that you can’t get back on track, but it might be a sign to experiment with another approach that works better for you. Health coaches help you along the way to discover your why, stay accountable to your plans and anticipate ways to overcome potential barriers that may arise. Remember, you can achieve your SMART goals by exploring alternative paths to success.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.