Steps to reaching your goals, not in a SMART way

Smart ways to set goals

Steps to reaching your goals, not in a SMART way

Content by: Deanna Niceski - Accredited Exercise Physiologist

I’d sound like a broken record if I discussed SMART goals in this blog, you’ve gone through that process since high school. It’s not quite New Years, so those ‘new year, new me’ goals we all set and cave to in the first 3 months isn’t where this is heading either. Yes, these processes have their place but I’m going to take a different approach.

With any goal you set yourself to achieve you need to paint the picture. Think about all your deepest, burning desires and your wants. If you really want something bad enough, you’ll get there, so let’s figure out how.

1. Decision Making

“The person who fails to develop their ability to make decisions is doomed because indecision sets up internal conflicts that can, without warning, escalate into all out mental and emotional wars.” – Bob Proctor

This might seem like common sense but as Bob Proctor put it, becoming proficient at making decisions is the first step. An adult can make on average 35,000 decisions a day. We decide when we wake up, if we listen to the devil on our shoulder saying ‘5 more minutes’ or 'suck it up and jump out of bed'. We decide what clothes to wear, what to eat and if we will go for a workout. So why is it when we decide to reach a certain milestone or envision a goal to strive towards it’s easy for us to just give up on them and say, ‘next time’?

Within life, plans should be flexible, and we should have an understanding that life’s obstacles will create disruptions. Just because you don’t hit the bullseye on the first go doesn’t mean you have failed. ”Failing does not make anyone a failure, but quitting does because quitting is a decision.” Be like President Kennedy and strive for the moon, make your decision where you are in your present time, with what you’ve got, and it will lead you to your desired result. You just need to make the decision.

“Decide what you want. Decide what you are prepared to give up to get it. Set your mind on it. Get on with the work.” – H.L Hunt

2. Your Why

Do you know why you want what you want? It’s important to really understand why you are doing something and why you want something. By defining and recognising your values and wants it will help you through your process of achieving your goals. When you start with your why, what you do as a direct result of that feels important, therefore your adherence to completing that vision is greater.

This should be a priority, this will help you crystallise your outcome, so ask yourself this question, what do you stand for and why do you want this?

“He who has a why to live for, can bear almost any how” – Friedrich Nietzsche

3. Identify your health promotors and disruptors

Reflect on your current movements and break them up into productive actions and non-productive actions or promotor and disruptors.

Promotors (no, not like those you see selling tickets for the best night clubs) are physical, mental, environmental and lifestyle factors that contribute to enhancing your outcomes and goals. By identifying these we can establish a baseline to refer to whenever we need some motivation or to remember why we started. Disruptors or inhibitors do the opposite, they slow and prevent our desired outcomes.

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4. Habit Formation and Habit Changing Actions

“You can’t extinguish bad habits; you can only replace them”. – Institute of Motion

Charles Duhigg discusses the idea of the habit loop. A loop that’s made up of three essential parts: reminder, routine and reward. This is a powerful tool to breakdown and understand the anatomy of a habit to create and change behaviour.

Reminder is a trigger or cue that initiates a habit. If we change our environment, we have a greater chance of changing our behaviour. It’s important to provide an atmosphere where external stimulus promote positive transformation and help in our achievement of reaching our goals.

Routine is the automated behaviour created by our reminders that set into sequence regular actions that are repeated.

Reward is when we start to see results and our habits are reinforced and begin to stick. The rewards are fuelled by our hierarchy of values.

5. Focus

Most times when we test our willpower, we can come off second best. By purely drawing off this we cause stress, add to fatigue and feel drained because it’s exhausting keeping a positive mindset and constantly using determination and self-control to repel old habits.

This can get overwhelming so to combat this, try and focus on one thing at a time and gradually build. Evidence suggests that sticking with creating or changing one habit at a time is very commanding “and by selecting habits that influence and change multiple behaviours at once is the best option.”

Keep it simple stupid and stick to one thing at a time. ‘You need to learn how to crawl before you can walk.’

Be kind to yourself, establishing habits takes up to 66 days to form. Don’t expect perfection, life happens, and it will always get in your way. Reflect on your why, identify your health promotors/disruptors, revisit the habit loop and re focus. It’s a process but you will get there. Good Luck!

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