The S.M.A.R.T Guide to Crushing Your Goals in 2021
As 2021 kicks off, we are all reflecting on accomplishments and shortcomings of 2020 and looking ahead to what we hope to get done in 2021. New Year’s Resolutions often get a bad rap and it can be very discouraging to try and attack goals seriously when there is so much negative thinking associated with New Year’s Resolutions. Resolutions are no different than setting and achieving goals any other time of year and we should not let the fear of failure stop us from pursuing self-improvement. The trick to sticking with your resolution isn’t a trick at all; It’s all about setting the right resolution from the very beginning and enjoying the process instead of feeling burdened by your goals. In my opinion, the best way to set a perfect goal is to use the S.M.A.R.T method; a goal should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.
SPECIFIC: Begin with the end in mind by visualizing exactly what you want to accomplish and what that would look like for you. It helps to ask yourself some questions along the way like: How would this goal improve your life? What needs to happen for this goal to be achieved?
MEASURABLE: Your goal should have some kind of standard so that you can keep track of your progress and the measurement should fit the specific goal in mind. For example, if you were determined to run more you could measure that in distance per week, days per week, or improved speed. The measurement should be tailored to you and used to identify your specific goal.
ATTAINABLE: Perhaps the biggest hurdle is setting a goal that is realistic and within your reach. It’s tempting to want to set your aim very high, but this is all the more discouraging if you happen to bite off more than you can chew. My suggestion is to start with a smaller goal that is part of the bigger plan. If you want to lose 40 pounds start by setting a goal of losing 10 pounds within a specified time frame and make that the focus. This allows you to feel the victory along the way instead of feeling disappointed that you haven’t reached your 40 goals by March.
RELEVANT: It’s possible to do a whole lot of work without ever getting anywhere; make sure the tactics and strategies implemented are the best suited to your goal. Looking back to the running example, someone who wants to run more often could benefit more from a running plan that gradually adds distance while someone who wants speed would benefit more from a program that incorporates different types of workouts that help to develop that speed. Do your homework and research the best approaches to your goal or ask a professional.
TIMELY: Time is your greatest resource and your most valuable currency. It is crucial that when creating a goal, you determine how much time you are able to realistically devote to your goal and if that time spent aligns with other responsibilities in your life. Remember, if you budget less time, to begin with it will be easier to keep up with and you add more time later on. If you commit to spending too much time early on, an inability to keep up will be more difficult (but not impossible) to adjust because you may not have had the opportunity to establish a routine or schedule. Additionally, your goal should come with a timeline that is as detailed as possible so that your 2021 resolution does not become your 2022 resolution. When do you want to have achieved your goal? What smaller goals should you set to keep yourself on track and how long should each of those take?
Putting it all together – I encourage all you go-getters to write a goal statement or similar reminder that you can hold onto or put somewhere it will be seen regularly to remind you of how important this goal is to you. Here’s an example:
“My goal is to run my first half-marathon on August 12, 2021. I will achieve this by beginning a 3 day/week running program with my friend, fulfilling my recovery and nutritional needs, and staying on track by running a 5k in March and a 10k in June.”
My final piece of advice is to make friends with failure; every goal comes with challenges and setbacks, but an all-or-nothing mindset can cause you to abandon a goal when you miss a day or life gets busy. Instead, take the failures as part of the journey, learn from it, and keep moving forward.
“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”
As always, we hope this helps! For any questions and all suggestions, please email us at TeamSP@SportsPerformancePT.com.
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