Goal Setting When SMART Doesn’t Cut It!

When I have a new client enroll in one of my online transformation programs, one of the first things I ask them to do is to clearly define their goals.  Each tier of my program lasts 6-weeks, so making a goal SMART is quite necessary ~ Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timed.  This is goal setting 101!  But what the heck do you do when you run out of ideas?  Like you totally have a goal-setting-writers-block and have zero direction?!

A few months ago one of my client’s who completed both my Envision and Empower courses was ready to move on to Tier Three, Enhance, but she hit a wall.  She asked me, “Well, what do I do when SMART. doesn’t cut it, Aubrey?”

Hmmm, this threw me.  Good question, girlfriend!

As a coach, it is my job to help people succeed at achieving a big, hairy-scary goal, but now I had to help someone achieve setting a goal when there was not an intrinsic motivation.  So I suggested to her, “What do you think about having a ‘soft-goal’ and taking the next several weeks to think about it and see what bubbles up?”  I also suggested that she capture this moment in her life in order to share with others who where in her shoes.  After all, if she felt this frustration, I’m sure MANY others do to.

And without further ado, I’d like to share with you my very special guest blogger, Sarah Youchak’s SOLUTION for those of us who need a little help in the S.M.A.R.T. department…take it away, Sarah!

If you have ever set goals for anything in your life – at school, work, or for yourself – you have probably heard of making them SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed. The acronym definition might be slightly different depending on your source, but the idea is still the same: 1) you want the goal to be specific; 2) you need a yardstick to measure it against to know when you have reached your goal; 3) the goal needs to be achievable which goes along with 4) it has to be realistic; and finally, 5) you need a timeframe in which you expect to reach the goal. You cannot expect to drop 30 lbs in a week and be able to maintain that loss. That is not realistic or achievable, and if for some crazy reason it does happen, it will not be maintainable weight loss.
The SMART guidelines work for goal setting the majority of the time, but what about the times when it doesn’t cut it? [Panic mode sets in] Trust me, I have been there; heck, I am there right now. I have this image in my head of myself being leaner, stronger, healthier and happier; I see myself being more flexible and agile, and downright gorgeous (like literally there is this glow around me). I deem this image my “ideal body” but is it reality? When trying to set a goal for this image, I assigned it a measurement of 130-135lbs for my 5’7.5” frame. Where did this number come from? It feels like I pulled it out of a hat.
To be completely honest, this image is most likely tainted. Pictures in social media, actors in movies/on TV, or people in magazines helped form this. When setting physique or fitness goals, it is important to know that every person is unique, and you may not be able to look like your favorite actor or social media influencer.

When you are in this type of situation, my best advice to you is to check your mindset; mainly this is:

  • Why do you want to achieve your goal?
  • Will it bring you joy?
  • Will it make your life easier or more pleasant?
  • Will it improve your health?
  • How important is this to you?

Sometimes (we might not know it) we are doing things for the wrong reasons – for instance your significant other wants you to – which makes the goal ultimately unachievable, or at the least sets you up for a miserable time getting there. Your “Why” is far more powerful than the “What”. More often than not, once you get your “Why” straight, setting your goal will be so much easier and simpler. Don’t forget, your goals and even your “Why” can mold and shape into something different over time, so allow yourself to be flexible.
Now, if you are in the right mindset and your why is right on track, but you are still having trouble with setting a SMART goal for yourself; the best thing you can do is ask for help. Ask a friend or a loved one. Ask a mentor. Ask a doctor. If your goal is health/fitness related, ask a personal trainer or wellness coach – Ask Aubrey.
If you have your “why”, you have your goal set, and still feel like you are not getting anywhere, remember, it only takes one step, one paragraph, one picture, one mile, one small thing to start making progress towards your goal.

~Sarah Youchak

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