Ditch Your New Year’s Resolution; Set a SMART Goal
by Erik Castiglione
Once again, New Year’s Day has come and gone. New Year’s, that most wonderful time of year when we can reminisce on the year gone past, and make sweeping declarations about how the upcoming year is going to be different. When I was younger, my parents made my brothers and me set some ridiculously lofty resolutions like “I won’t disobey Mom this year” and “I won’t fight with my brothers this year.” It was the same thing every year, and like clockwork, we broke them within weeks. It’s the same situation for most of us now. “This year, I’m going to lose weight.” “This year, I’m going to drink less/eat less junk.” “This year, I’m going to exercise more.” Do these sound familiar? I’m sure they do, and I’m sure that like most people, you have struggled to keep these resolutions. The problem with these resolutions is that they are nebulous ideas, made without plans or deadlines. I’m here to help you actually keep your resolutions, and the first step is to ditch the term resolution. Instead, we’re going to set SMART goals.
Goal setting is very important. Arnold Schwarzenegger self reportedly writes his annual goals out on an index card and tape it to his mirror, so he can see them every morning. You don’t need to adopt this same strategy, but to be successful, you need some level of accountability. SMART goals can help. There are several different interpretations of this acronym, but the one I like best is Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, and Time-bound To help better understand this acronym, let’s look at a common New Year’s resolution: “I’m going to lose weight.”
To turn this resolution into a SMART goal, we need to make it both specific and measurable. How much weight do you want to lose? How will you quantify it? We can choose a couple of different measurements – weight on a scale, inches around the waist, etc. For simplicity’s sake, let’s choose lbs. The resolution becomes “I want to lose X number of pounds.” Great! We’re off to a good start. Next: action-oriented. What are you going to do to achieve this goal? What steps will you take? It could be any number of steps. You could specify the number of times a week you’re going to hit a WOD, you could limit the number of nights you consume alcohol, you could make dietary changes, etc. There is no wrong answer here, as long as you have clear steps mapped out.
Finally, realistic and time bound. You need to set a deadline for yourself, and with this deadline in mind, you can evaluate how realistic the goal is. This will ensure that you remain accountable to yourself. If my goal is to lose 20 lbs, then setting a 3-day deadline is not realistic, unless I’m going in for liposuction. It is realistic to lose up to 1 or 2 lbs a week. More than that is not healthy. So, if weight loss is your goal, let that be a starting point for you, and go from there. Completing our example, we can turn a vague New Year’s resolution to lose weight into a SMART goal: I want to lose 20 lbs by March 31, 2017. I will do this by attending 3 CrossFit classes a week, drinking no more than 2 alcoholic beverages a night, and by only having dessert on Saturdays. By setting SMART goals throughout the year, you can take greater ownership of your own fitness journey, making you more likely to enjoy it and be successful at CrossFit Relentless. If you want some moral support, write your goals on the goal board at the box so the rest of the community can help keep you accountable.
Happy New Year everyone! Now set some SMART goals, achieve them, and own your fitness!