I am not a doctor. Please don't take what I say as a replacement for medical or mental health advice. I also may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in my posts. Full affiliate disclosure and disclaimers can be found here.
Let’s talk about Goal Setting? Anyone got some goals? C’mon we ALL have goals! Sometimes they’re just half-baked, or unclear, or feel impossible. Trust me, I am QUEEN of impossible goals! So I started to study my goals, and what I found was pretty surprising. Goals are deceiving little beasts. Having goals is great, but it’s a slippery slope into negative self-talk land if they aren’t the RIGHT goals, or if there are too many, or if they’re just completely unreasonable. Let’s get something straight right now…goals DO NOT equal dreams. Goals are the steps to get you TO your dreams. Think of it like this….
Make sense? I hope so. It takes some mindset shifting to think like this, but I promise it’s worth it. Once I started viewing my goals as stepping stones to achieving my dreams things felt a little bit more manageable. Yet somehow I still managed to set goals that were a little, um, overzealous? ‘I will lose 40 pounds in the next 6 months!’ type overzealous. Then, when I only managed to lose 10 I’d feel like a complete failure. Or, even worse, I’d never even start working on the goal in the first place! Who feels me?
Anyway, that’s where SMART Goals come in. Bear with me here, as I’m an engineer, not a psychologist, but I find SMART goals a much easier pill to swallow than just an amorphous blob of ‘goals’. So what is a SMART goal? Google will give you several answers, but I’d like to share my version specifically. I’ll break it down a little more too so you can see how I got to this…
Setting Smart Goals
This can be a hard part of goal setting simply because most of us aren’t used to it. It’s easy to set a goal, right? Not so fast. ‘Lose weight’ is a terrible goal. Losing weight is definitely something that can be beneficial to you, but ‘lose weight’ as a goal is just not specific enough. How much weight? Muscle or fat? What part of your body are you targeting? Seriously, get specific.’ I want to lose 10 lbs’ is good, but ‘I want to lose 10 lbs of fat, mainly in my abdomen’ is even better. See what I did there? Try it!
The ‘M’ is sort of all over the place in the SMART goal acronyms out there. But for me, meaningful is where it’s at. Why? Because I’m guilty of setting goals that meant nothing to ME, and really belonged to someone else. For example, I am just not a girly girl. Never have been, never will be. And yet I have set ridiculous goals of wearing make up every day or wearing skirts and dresses. It just doesn’t mean anything to me, but I thought maybe my husband would like it ( Except, duh, he married ME!) Or I thought I’d be more accepted, or I’d look more professional. All I did was make myself feel uncomfortable and guilty every time I chose jeans. Those things just aren’t MEANINGFUL to me. You know what is? Keeping up with my kids. Or running another 5k. No goals are BAD goals (unless you’re trying to be an evil villain) but some goals will mean more to you than others. Stick with the meaningful ones.
‘I will run a marathon next week!’ is probably not an attainable goal. If you have a goal that’s a little bit out there, maybe upgrade it to a dream and work on those chapters to get there. Be ambitious, make it hard, but don’t make it impossible. This is where I plead that you take an HONEST look at where you are RIGHT NOW. Truth be told, I DO want to run a marathon. But right now I’d struggle with a 5k. I am a runner, but I haven’t been keeping up with it lately. Running another 5k would be a great goal for me, and would get me another chapter closer to that marathon.
Remember when I said in the past I’d had style goals? When I picture myself as the ‘ultimate me’ I’m wearing exactly what I have on now… jeans and a t-shirt. For me to be the absolute best version of myself, style just doesn’t fit in. Health, contentment, physical fitness, and being a badass mom all do. So will whatever goal I’m setting get me closer to that ultimate me? If not, then why am I setting it? This is where I tell you it’s ok to say no. You get to choose who you are and who you will be. Stay true to that.
If you were given an assignment with no due date, what would you do? Personally, I’m a ridiculous person and I’d do it immediately and then forget about it. Some people would let it languish. Other people might get really paranoid and not know what to do. Give. Yourself. A. Due. Date. That way you can pace yourself appropriately. If you truly know where you are starting, and where (and when!) you’re going, then the middle becomes clear. That pesky middle is the hard part, so don’t let it linger. The work of completing a goal is way harder than setting it, and never feels as good as meeting it, but it IS the most important part. With an end clearly defined you can get to work. You owe yourself that clarity.
Ok, so that’s my spiel on goals! Wanna know a secret? I have TONS of goals, and I’m working on them every day. The last little bit I have for you? Accountability and support. Find a person or people who will be there to support you. Personally, I have a kickass Facebook page that I’d love for you to visit. I talk about these goals of mine, my awkward life, my trials and tribulations, and of course my beloved Juice Plus.