Goal setting is an excellent way to focus on + visualize our dreams for the future. Yet, it’s easy to get a little overambitious in the process + end up disappointed with the outcome. Usually, the issue is not about personal effort [we all know the unreal stamina of CHAARG girls ; )], but rather, what the mental image of our goals actually are. Before we reach for the stars in one leap, it’s wise to take a step back + evaluate if our goals are truly *S.M.A.R.T.* Goal setting the SMART way will bring clear structure, milestones, + organization that can guarantee you a clear path to the finish line [fitness related, or not!] —
The goals we set have to be specific, or else we’ll never be able to focus our efforts. Setting SMART goals distinguishes the difference between *get stronger* + *increase my barbell weight at the gym by ten pounds every month so that by the end of the semester, I’ll be able to squat X lbs.* The first goal mentioned is very vague + a lot of questions are left unanswered. How will you be able to know you’ve reached said goal? What defines *stronger?* What actions will you take to reach this goal? In what time span? Without a doubt, this kind of goal would only lead to constant frustration + a sense of failure, because you’ll never know if you’ve accomplished your goals or not.
The second goal considers all of the *W’s:* who, what, when, where, why + how [okay, not a W, but it still counts! : )]. This goal is specific enough that you’ll definitely know if you’re on track or need to slow it down a bit + adjust.
SMART goals are also measurable. Similar to how specific goals keep you on track, measurable goals will force you to meet your deadlines + thus stay motivated throughout the process. Make sure to include a quantitative unit in your goals so that you’ll know for sure when you’ve accomplished it + can reward yourself. For example, if your overarching goal is to *run a mile in X minutes,* it’s way more attainable to set weekly [or daily] goals of improvements. This way, you can steadily conquer every small goal as you go, like *increase speed to XX* every week. Eventually, you’ll reach that big end goal!
Besides, you can’t hold yourself to such high expectations right off the bat. You have to work your way up ++ stay persistent. Measurable goals are highly encouraged because they will have you constantly feeling a sense of achievement + encouragement to keep pushing yourself.
Evaluating whether your goal is attainable or not may be a little difficult for those who are always setting the bar higher ++ higher for themselves. Of course you’ll always want to stretch your abilities to improve yourself, but not so far that you find yourself reaching for something that’s impossible. Investigate whether or not this goal is realistic by asking yourself things like: Do I have the time to do it? Am I financially capable? Is it physically possible? Although considering these thoughts may seem a little disheartening, it doesn’t mean that you should give up! You’ll simply have to work a little harder // put more thought into it to make your goal *SMARTER* ; ) Some girls may be tempted to set goals that involve comparing themselves to others, especially celebrities. These may be unattainable + toxic: you + your body are unique + cannot be compared to anyone else’s. Instead of focusing on others, goal-setting should be about the drive to become a better you.
The relevancy of a goal is dependent on perspective, but it’s still important to consider when goal-setting. Set time aside to think about + make sure your goals really matter to you + can also align with the rest of your life. It’s always wise to ask yourself about where your priorities lie ++ if it’s the right time to embark on said goal. Although you aren’t pursuing your goal right now, it doesn’t mean you can’t put it on the back burner! : )
Lastly, the smartest goals are timely. The timeline you set to reach your goal can truly make or break your morale, so pay attention to it! Although you may want to run X miles in a certain time within just under a week of training, it’s probably not likely. Be realistic + do your research — if you expect to achieve your goals too quickly, you’ll only feel discouraged + frustrated along the way.
We suggest setting sensible deadlines since it’s the best way to have timely progress + keep yourself accountable. Remember that it’s okay to adjust along the way, too! If you find that you can execute something in more // less time than you originally thought, feel free to change up your schedule a bit. Nothing is set in stone, ++ this is your goal, after all. Above all, be patient + have faith in the process — with cheerleaders like the CHAARG community, you’ll reach your goals for sure!
Keep in mind that staying confident in yourself + accepting your limits is important to achieving any type of goal. However, if at any point you do fall off the wagon, your CHAARG companions will always be here to pick you right back up : ). No matter what it may be, follow this list to keep your goals SMART!
+ Becca [@becc_inchaarg] // [UMD CHAARG]