I’ve noticed that people sometimes resist creating SMART goals.
That resistance strengthens the less certain they are about whether that goal (or even getting things headed in the right direction) is achievable.
I’m thinking there could be an in-between step.
Over ten years ago, I found myself carrying about 25 pounds more than I usually do. The weight snuck up on me, of course. A few incidents set off some alarms that maybe I ought to do something about it.
- I was wearing my mother’s hand-me-downs. She had just lost a bunch of weight. Her hand-me-downs were larger than anything I had worn – ever. And some of them were too tight.
- A professional colleague made the harmless comment that I looked “old.” I work in IT, so tact isn’t a strong suit for most people in the field.
- Clothes I’ve worn for years didn’t fit. Too tight.
- I was feeling tired, bloated, slow and fat.
Yes, I knew I needed to set SMART goals, but I’ve never needed to diet or lose weight before.
Furthermore, I wasn’t entirely sure what caused the weight gain to begin with. I didn’t think I was doing anything differently.
I figured that a good approach, for me, was to see if I could change the momentum.
I didn’t set a target to fail at, then go through the whole shame-spiral thing when I missed.
It was more of an “if I do this, will the trend move in the right direction?”
In my case, I decided to start exercising. I tracked how often I did it and what I did.
After a month, I had enough data to start setting SMART goals.
What was that data?
- Yes, in my case – exercise helps me lose weight
- I also found that exercise dampened my appetite and I naturally made better food choices
- I could exercise 2-3 days per week without feeling the “shoulds”
- During my exploratory measurements, I lost 5 pounds and started to fit into my old clothes again.
Awesome! NOW I can make a SMART goal because I have a good chance of achieving it and I have the data available to make it realistic.
If you find yourself resisting making a SMART goal, do some exploration.
- Where are you at now?
- Is there something you can try to change the trend?
- What happened?
- Did your experiment have the desired result?
- If yes, at what pace?
- If not, is there something else you can try? Or is there another variable at play?
With that data, you can then start setting specific, measurable, ACHIEVABLE, relevant and time-bound goals.
And you won’t get as stuck with the “achievable” part.
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I hope you can join me on this journey!