Goal setting is a process that at first may seem overwhelming, frustrating, or unnecessary, but the truth is that without solid, SMART goals, it’s much harder to actually accomplish the things you want to do… including losing weight and becoming healthier in the new year.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to properly outline your goals to lead you to success and how to narrow them down into a system that’s best for measuring, and holding yourself accountable for specific and timely results.
So, what are SMART goals? These goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. What this means is that your goals should be as detailed as possible, able to be measured effectively for success, realistic (not far-fetched), relevant to your deepest internal values, and attainable within a certain time frame that you set.
Let’s go ahead and take a more in-depth look at what we believe your healthy new year’s goals should look like within the specific framework of SMART goal setting…
1) Just Difficult Enough
Research shows that the size of your goals actually matter… and believe it or not, more challenging might be better. In one study in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, it was shown that goal setting was even more effective when goals were difficult. This may be because you can actually envision a totally new, better outcome for yourself at the end of all your hard work.
Think about your goals realistically and what you would like to change, (how much weight you would like to lose or HOW you would like to be healthier), and make sure you aren’t selling yourself short. Don’t choose easier goals simply because they seem like less work, because they also won’t have as much motivational fuel behind them.
Instead, think of challenging yet still attainable goals, and remember that you can always set smaller goals along the way to lead up to the bigger ones – but they will still be your overarching vision for success!
2) In Touch With Deepest Values
Next, do your chosen goals speak to your innermost desires and root values? If not, then it’s time to rethink them! A perfect example is if you see someone else accomplishing something and then immediately think that you want to accomplish that too! Before you start taking steps, analyze whether that particular thing is actually good for YOU.
Some examples of questions to consider when mapping out your goals include…
Do these fulfill me personally in some way?
Will they lead to overall joy and peace in my life?
Will they improve my health or life?
Is this something I would want to keep doing continuously?
Is this attainable for ME?
Will this lead to me being healthier and happier?
Once you consult with yourself to uncover your own values and desires, you’ll find that goal setting is actually pretty exciting. It’s not so much about the end result of reaching the finish line as much as who you become on your way to getting there! And THAT is worth all of your effort.
Don’t think of goals as mandatory must-haves that drain your energy, but an exciting transformation process that takes you from where you are, to a new and improved you that is even better than you are today.
3) Measurable and Specific
Next, drill down your goal to something that is as detailed as possible, with a given timeframe for you to complete it by… for the best results. Research shows that when it comes to goal setting, the more specific the goal, and the more outlined the process of attaining it, the better chance you have of turning it into reality.
Here are some examples of vague vs. specific goals…
Vague: I want to lose weight.
Specific: I want to lose 50 lbs. in 8 months.
Vague: I want to start eating healthier.
Specific: I will eat at least 5 servings of vegetables each day and cut out added sugar for 3 months.
I’ll eat a keto diet that’s high in healthy fats and very low in carbs for 3 months then reconvene to see if I want to continue.
Vague: I want to be more active
Specific: I’ll exercise 3 times per week, for 30 minutes each time, for at least 30 days to start.
The specifics of your goal depend completely on what’s possible for you and YOUR life, therefore also need to be practical. And the timeline you pick should be slightly challenging, but also doable.
4) Written Down
Next, once you figure out your unique goals, you need to write them down! This may seem simplistic but it’s actually incredibly powerful. In a well cited study by a psychology professor at the Dominican University of California, Gail Matthews, it was found that participants were 42% more likely to achieve their goals if they wrote them down! The people in the study included men and women from ages 23 to 72, from all over the world, in many different fields of work – so the data can apply to anyone.
Though you may have a vague goal in your head, writing down your goals forces you to get specific and timely with them. It also serves as a means of helping to hold you accountable, and makes the goals more concrete. Once you write them down, you can constantly look back at them as a form of encouragement, fuel, and motivation.
We recommend not only writing down your goals, but also keeping track of your progress in a journal, such as the 310 Wellness Journal. In this way, you give life to your goals and have a step-by-step method of reaching them, that you can easily track along the way, giving you much more power in completing them and reaching success.
5) Shared with Others
Finally, share your goals with others! Speaking your goals is also another way to get them from a state of wishing, into actual reality that you will work towards. In the study mentioned earlier in this article on the most optimal states for effective goal-setting, the findings also suggested that your goal should be set publicly, and as a group goal!
At 310 Nutrition, this is exactly why we recommend that you join the 310 Community on Facebook – a closed community where you can share your goals with others on similar journeys to get encouragement, tips, and motivation along the way! In numerous success stories, people who have reached their health and weight loss goals by eating a clean diet including 310 Shakes have mentioned that this community was incredibly beneficial and essential to reaching their goals.
This is because sharing your goals with a group of people who have similar aspirations and values means that you don’t have to travel the journey alone! It also means that you have people to not only hold you accountable, but help you along the way. And that just makes the enter experience that much more exciting, and worthwhile.
So, before you start getting down on yourself for not being on track with your goals this year, remember that it may not actually be you… it may simply be that your goals, in general, aren’t really goals yet! In short, your goals may need some serious preliminary work to go from simple vague wishes, to actual SMART goals with measurable results! You are totally and completely worth it, so why not map out YOUR unique goals today?! Remember that the transformation itself is completely worth the effort, and it’s the process, not the destination that should get you motivated to begin.
Want more articles to help you live your healthiest, happiest life right now? Visit the 310 Nutrition Blog for nutritious, scrumptious recipes, tips for living a healthy lifestyle, dietary guidance from 310 Nutritionists and more!
Bachrach, A. (Host). (2021, Jan 21). 4 Tips for Helping You Stick To Your Goals [Audio podcast episode]. In Goal Setting & Achievement With Anne Bachrach.
(2018, Mar 27). How to Set Goals and Stick With Them – Goal Setting Strategies and Examples for Personal, Financial and Professional Goals [Audio podcast episode]. In 0 to 7 Figures, Daily Advice for Entrepreneurs.