From athletes to entrepreneurs, those with the most success in their lives have all set goals that incorporate long-term vision AND short-term motivation.  Without these, our objectives can lack focus and organization, and life’s distractions can often derail our progress. It’s easy to lose steam after the initial New Year’s rush, but now is the perfect time to reflect on your health and fitness goals and set up a system to ensure your long-term success.

Goal setting is not just about reaching your destination – it’s also about the process of getting there. Achieving your goals involves first identifying the “big picture” objective – your large-scale vision of what you want to accomplish – and then breaking this down into manageable tasks.

SMART GOAL SETTING

The best way to do this is by setting SMART goals. These are:

Specific: They involve a clear, concise and tangible objective, such as “I want to run a half-marathon in under two hours.” Specific goals define the who, what, where, when, and how of your goal.

Measureable: They allow you to measure and track your progress so that you can see when you’ve reached your goal. Keeping a checklist or daily journal is a great way to assess your improvement.

Attainable: They are feasible to attain and action-oriented, meaning they outline the specific steps you’ll take to achieve your desired results. Rather than set multiple goals at once that can overwhelm or frustrate you by your lack of progress, attainable goals take into account your personal limitations.

Realistic: They challenge and stretch you…but within reason. If you want to run a marathon but have not run in many years or have never been a runner, aim for shorter distance races first and work your way up to your ultimate goal.

Time bound: Setting a specific time frame and target end date will not only help you keep focused and motivated to complete your goal, it will also allow you to assess what worked and what didn’t.

SHARP GOAL SETTING

Now that you have established your SMART goal(s), it’s time to enhance your progress with SHARP goals: objectives that push you to identify the significance of achieving your goal, and set up the support you need to succeed. SHARP goals are:

Significant & salient: They establish clear and meaningful milestones that provide you with a sense of purpose. These goals should be dynamic and challenging but still relevant to where you are in your life.

Healthy & holistic: They are driven by healthy, positive and empowering motivation and take into consideration all areas of your life: mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, relational, professional and financial. 

Accountable, actionable & aligned: They include someone to whom you give permission to keep you accountable – even when you don’t want to be. This is made easier by keeping your goals in line with how you are wired.

Risk & result oriented: Want results? Take a risk!  Setting realistic goals is important, but if there is no risk involved you may lose motivation. Weigh the cost of achieving your goal against the benefits of doing so and focus on setting result-oriented goals that allow you to feel and see your progress.

Partnered & persevered: They enlist the help of a partner or team to provide a support system. Unlike your “accountable” relationship, which is vertical, your team or partner will join you in your process to ensure you persevere and achieve your goals.

In the end, it comes down to having a plan, being prepared and executing your strategy with action.  Remember to be specific and accountable for your choices; partner up and surround yourself with positive supporters to ensure you reach both your short and long term goals.