Setting goals will help you achieve your dreams. Goals play a significant role in success, and they provide a means to measure progress along the way. Goals increase self-esteem, productivity and commitment, according to Psychology Today. You can set goals for every part of your life, including health and fitness. The SMART mnemonic is a guide to one method of setting effective goals. The 5 steps to SMART goal setting include creating goals that are specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic and time-bound.
To be effective, your goal must specifically state what it is you want to accomplish, Vanderbilt University’s Health Plus says. Vague, ambiguous goals, such as planning to lose weight or get fit, are open to interpretation and don’t provide clear focus. “I will lose two pounds per week for the next 12 weeks” is an example of a specific goal. Break the goal down further into smaller goals or objectives that define exactly how you will accomplish the larger goal, such as “I will walk briskly for 30 minutes on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings,” “I will not snack while watching TV” and “I will have fruit instead of desert six nights per week.”
SMART goals are measurable, allowing you to clearly see if you are progressing as planned. If your goal is to walk briskly for 30 minutes on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings, it’s easy to measure whether you have accomplished that or not. Write down your goals and track your progress, Vanderbilt advises.
SMART goals are action-oriented, enabling you to create concrete steps that you will take to be successful. Actions don’t always have to be physical. Learning new information or skills, such as how to prepare healthy meals or train with weights, is an important part of the process, Psychology Today says.
SMART goals are realistic. Planning to lose 20 pounds in a month or planning to exercise one hour a day if you haven’t been exercising at all are unrealistic goals that will lead to failure. Take your time constraints and other limitations into account. Do make your goals somewhat challenging. Challenge can motivate you and keep you excited by having you stretch out of your comfort zone.
Adding a deadline to your SMART goals in vital to success. If your weight loss goal is to lose two pounds per week for the next 12 weeks, you have a deadline to meet each week to help keep you focused and on-track. When you successfully reach each goal, reward yourself. Treat yourself to a healthy lunch at a restaurant, a movie, a massage or a new book. It’s important to celebrate success, according to Vanderbilt.
Bad habits are easy to make, but extremely hard to end. Good habits, on the other hand, tend to take more time to make. Luckily, scientists agree that the average person needs at least 3 weeks to form a good habit. For more specific means of doing this, this article should help.
- Know what you want. If you can perfectly visualize the habit in your head, the work will be easier.
- Make a list of the benefits of your new habit. For example, if you quit smoking, you are likely to become more healthy. Make a separate list of the costs, i.e., people may not view you as “cool.” Try to debunk the costs, i.e. if people really like you, they will find it as a benefit.
- Commit to the habit. If you want to change, you have to work at it. Do not quit if you have one failure. And don’t blame yourself for the failure either. It’s usually not your fault.
- Set your own goals, and reward yourself. Write the goals down, and post them all around. In your kitchen, bedroom, office, even the bathroom if necessary. Once you’ve met those goals, treat yourself to a movie or a pizza. As long as the treat isn’t anything you’re trying to quit.
- Start slowly. If you want to become stronger or faster, choose short exercises at first. Then, make them larger, in order to adapt to the habit.
- Go for consistency rather than performance. For example, if your goal is to do daily push ups, it’s better to start by doing one push up EVERY DAY for a month than by doing 20 push ups for two days and then giving up. After you have done one pushup consistently for a number of days, you have formed the habit. Now increase the number of push ups gradually from there, all the while striving to do some number of push ups EVERY day.
- Consult a friend. It’s what they’re there for. To comfort and help you in times of need. Ask them to keep track of your accomplishments, or act as a therapist if something goes wrong. It’s alright to do this. They should be happy to.
- Even after your goals are set, don’t continue to smoke, take drugs, or stop exercising. You need to make this a lifetime thing if you’re serious about it, and you can’t stop after just 3 weeks.
- It can be tough to muster up the motivation you need to change your lifestyle. Pick up a good habit like exercising or drop an unhealthy one like quitting smoking. Using each Monday to recommit if you fall off track; that way, you have 52 chances a year to get motivated to make a change in your life. Healthy Monday is a non-profit national public health campaign that encourages people to use Monday as the day for all things healthy.
If you’re trying to start a good habit, then you probably had a bad habit to begin with. If so, empty your house and work space of the thing you’re trying to quit, or any item that may make you want to end the habit-making process. If you want to quit smoking, get rid of cigarettes. If you want to eat healthier, get rid of most unhealthy foods in you pantry etc.
Anyone can set goals for self management. The trick is setting goals and sticking to them. Fortunately, with the right motivational tools and quantifiable goals, keeping on track with your goals can be easy and enjoyable.
1. Determine what goals you want to set for yourself: Do you want to set aside time for family? Save money? Lose weight? You must decide exactly what you want to do before you set goals for self management.
2. Make your goals quantifiable. Saying “I want to lose a lot of weight” is not enough. Instead, say “I want to lose 10 pounds in six months.” This creates a quantifiable goal that can be met. The same goes for other goals: “I want to spend one hour each day with my family” is sufficient, as is “I want to save $200 per paycheck.”
3. Monitor your progress over time. As you get closer to achieving or sticking to your goal, you will feel a sense of accomplishment and motivation to continue toward your overall goal.
4. Set a reward for yourself if you achieve your goal, or continue your goal for an acceptable amount of time. For example, if your goal is to cut back to one hour of television a day and you stick with this for two months, allow yourself to go out to dinner with friends, or treat yourself to the new pair of jeans you’ve been looking forward to purchasing.
5. Write your goals down and post them in places that you will frequently see. Posting a notice about weight loss on the refrigerator will deter you from looking for fattening snacks. Posting your goals by your computer will remind you of them each time you write an email.
6. Make your goals part of your everyday lifestyle. By sticking to your goals on a daily basis, they will become natural and will no longer be a struggle. Encourage others to join you in healthy pursuits, and allow their success to encourage you.
We have been working on a new mobile version of the GoalsOnTrack web app for the past few months. We are very close to the beta launch. This version is going to work on all major smart phone platforms, including iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phones devices. Here is a sneak peak of how the mobile app will look like.
The mobile version will be sharing the same data set from your main GoalsOnTrack web app account. Therefore any changes you make in one version will immediately be visible in the other version. The benefit is that you will no longer need to do any data syncing like you do with the current iPhone native app.
We currently have two main modules Goals and Tasks ready for beta testing. We are still working on the habits and journal modules right now. If you’re interested in testing out the current development version, please let us know via the contact us form on the home page. (Make sure you mention what kind of phone you are using.)
Some users have reported having problems in using certain features under Microsoft Internet Explorer 9. They may happen when you try to update tasks or reorder goals. There seems to be some compatibility issues with IE9 in our app, which should work fine in all other browsers(Chrome, Firefox, Safari), and all other versions of IE(including IE8), except IE9.
We are working on a solution to resolve these issues and to make it all work for IE9 users, but in the meanwhile, you may try any of the following which some users have found to be effective in dealing with general IE9 compatibility issues with many sites, especially web applications.
1. Reset your IE9 to default settings: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/923737
2. Use IE9’s Compatibility View ( click top menu Tools -> Compatibility View)
4. Revert back to IE8: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ie/gg622935(v=vs.85).aspx
5. Remove Divx plug-in: http://forum.jquery.com/topic/internet-explorer-9-jquery-and-divx
If you still have problem using the app with IE9, please let us know which function doesn’t work for you, your browser and operating system version numbers. We’ll try our best to fix it for you.
By Henna Inam
The goal is clear. We are working hard toward it. And then a setback happens. An unexpected obstacle in the path. A habit we thought we could overcome and we cheat. A stressor that causes us to regress to “our old selves”. And then we give up. When you set goals, do you plan upfront how you will deal with failure? Here’s how.
When we fail we get down on ourselves. We assume the goal is just too hard. We assume that we will never change. So might as well give up! And we move on to other things. The goal is forgotten. The energy put against achieving it in the first place is wasted. We beat ourselves up. The mind says “You @!?!!, can’t even get this right”. And we resign ourselves, tired, our spirit weakened, and our confidence in meeting future goals threatened.
But what if we had a plan to deal with failure? What if we knew that growth happens in spurts? What if the nature of change is not steady? Observing nature gives us some clues. The child comes out of the womb in spurts. The water of the tsunami has to recede deep into the ocean first to then gather its full force to come to shore. Sometimes it’s just 2 steps forward, 1 step back. Just know, you’re still 1 step ahead.
So the next time you set a goal, plan for what you will do when you have a setback. Will you beat yourself up and abandon the goal? “Well, I had 2 chocolate chip cookies, might as well have the bucket of ice cream too!” Or will you execute the setback plan you set up? What does the setback plan look like?
Here are 3 tips for creating your setback plan:
1) Ask yourself “What will motivate me to get back on track?” and then pursue that. Each person is unique. Understand what motivates you and use it shamelessly!
2) Review the positive progress you did make and feel good about it. You set a goal. That’s positive progress. You pursued it for 13 hours. That’s positive progress. If you’re really desperate to feel good about something, remind yourself you’re breathing. That’s positive progress. It definitely beats the alternative!
3) Refocus on how you will feel when you’ve achieved the goal. Write that down. Yes, go ahead and imagine it in great detail. Engage your senses. The smell of the leather chair in the corner office. The sound of your very own capuccino machine. The clapping of the Board of Directors as they hear your outstanding presentation. Savor it. And now you’re on your way to refocusing on your goal.
Goal-setting theory was developed during a 25-year period within the industrial and organizational psychology community, according to an article in Current Direction in Psychological Science by Edwin A. Locke and Gary P. Latham. The effects of goal setting can be profound whether you are using goals to achieve a work, sports or school goal. Goal-setting can have profound effects on how we feel about ourselves and the work that we do.
Goal-setting can have a motivating effect. The more ambitious the goal, the more motivation you will experience. Higher goals require you to attain more in order to achieve satisfaction. According to the website Mind Tools, setting goals can give you a way of visualizing your long-term goals and also give you short-term motivation. Mind Tools recommends setting lifetime goals and putting them on a five-year plan. Then set smaller goals to achieve within six months to a year. In addition, Mind Tools recommends writing down a to-do list to help you keep these goals in view and to keep yourself motivated. Review the list periodically and update it if needed.
Achievement can be a very satisfying effect of goal setting. According to an article in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology by Andrew J. Elliot and Judith M. Harackiewicz, goals can represent a concrete standard that helps us to perform positively. Achievement itself can be intoxicatingly motivating and can cause us to want to work toward even more goals and sometimes much harder goals. Setting goals and taking it one step at a time can help you achieve extremely difficult tasks that you once thought were unattainable. Mind Tools recommends using the “SMART” mneumonic to set your goals. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. This trick helps you make achieving your goals much easier.
One of the effects of goal setting is the positive influence it can have on your self-esteem. Setting a goal and working toward that goal can help you improve your self-esteem. However, setting too high a goal and not being able to achieve that goal can have an adverse effect and cause a loss of self-esteem. It is important to set realistic goals that can be achieved in steps. To set an attainable goal, Mind Tools reports that you need to first have a good understanding of what your qualities, skills and abilities are. Mind Tools recommends setting performance goals instead of outcome goals. Performance goals are much easier for you to control, whereas outcome goals can be lost because of elements that we cannot control such as other people’s actions.