Fit & Happy: ...and SMART!
By: MEREDITH NIXON, March 20, 2014
We’ve squashed every excuse we have for not working out (Fit & Happy: Are your #1 priority), so now it’s time to set a goal and stick with it! Even the most motivated of us can feel unmotivated at times. In fact, sometimes we get into such a slump that even thinking about making positive changes can seem too difficult. But it’s not hopeless; with some small steps, baby ones in fact, you can get started down the road to a positive change. A goal with no plan is just a wish, so let’s make wishes come true by being SMART and following these simple rules of goal setting.
- S: Specific
- M: Measurable
- A: Attainable
- R: Relevant
- T: Time-Bound
Be SPECIFIC, what is it you want to achieve? Write down your wishes and your dreams. It is easy to get overwhelmed if we are not focused on what it is we are looking to achieve. Zero in on what your ultimate goal is and then break it down one step at a time.
One Goal at a time is easily MEASURABLE! Want to lose weight, start exercising, eat healthier etc.? Those are all great goals and lifestyle changes but, let’s take it one step at a time. If we are trying to accomplish too many things at once, we often lose energy and focus. There’s plenty of time to add to our list of goals, but choose one for now and focus on it completely. Have a plan that will help our progress almost daily. Choose one goal and take that first step.
Start small and you will ATTAIN your wish/goal sooner. For example, if you want to lose 20 pounds, set a goal of 3 pounds in your first 2 weeks. Don’t say to yourself, I’m going to work out 5 days a week, start eating better and lose 20 pounds. Instead, commit to working out 2 days a week, start weeding out the junk food and build from there. Just these small changes will be enough to jumpstart your body into changing and you will see results. Give yourself 2 weeks and then perhaps add a 3rd or 4th day of workouts, start counting calories or meet with a nutritionist. Gradual changes are much more attainable and small successes are what motivate us to keep going.
Stay Relevant! If you think about your goal every day, it is much more likely to be realized. Sending yourself daily reminders also helps and if you can commit to doing one small thing to further your goal (even just 5 minutes) every single day, your goal will almost certainly come true. Here are a few ideas to keep your goals relevant and a reality:
Post your goal, somewhere you will see it multiple times a day! Commit publicly. None of us likes to look bad in front of others. Get support, it is more difficult to accomplish something alone and accountability is a key factor in success. Read about it daily, I will typically go online or read a magazine that reaffirms my goal. Think about the benefits, not the difficulties. For example, instead of thinking about how tiring exercise can be, focus on how good you’ll feel when you’re done, and how you’ll be healthier and slimmer over the long run. Find inspiration, who or what is it that you wish to be like or wish for?
Time Bound means to set deadlines; not for the overall picture but, for the small steps in between. For the specific goal of the moment; to measure the daily progress; attain the small successes and to stay relevant in your overall wish. A dream is just a goal with a deadline. Dream Big but take it slow. Remember, it takes time and realize that there’s an ebb and flow. Motivation is not a constant thing however, if we are SMART about our goals they become reality!
It takes time to make changes and if you are not able to consistently hold yourself accountable, you may want to seek guidance. Perhaps hire a trainer to see you at least one to two times a week to establish your new habit; someone to hold you accountable will make it easier to stick to it. I’m not going to tell you that it is going to be easy to stick to your goals of more exercise and or weight loss but, it can be done. You can do it. Know yourself and plan accordingly and live your life Fit & Happy!
This column sponsored by:
Meredith Nixon is a fitness enthusiast with a passion for motivating and inspiring others.
She uses her personal experiences from achieving her own weight loss goals to understand her clients and motivate them to love themselves and to be happy, healthy and fit. She teaches people how to live a healthy lifestyle and keep weight off forever with life changing results both inside and out.
Since 2007 Meredith has been the sole proprietor of her own health clubs. The Fitness Company for Women in Mashpee, The Fitness Company (coed) in East Falmouth , and most recently, FitCo Weight loss & Wellness Center of Cape Cod.