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How To: Setting and Smashing Goals

Goals, resolutions, hopes, whatever you call them, goals are generally characterized as something you want to achieve and/or accomplish. Goals are great in that they give you something to reach for and work towards, but they can also be frustrating if they're not made well. What do I mean by that? Sometimes we set goals that are unreasonable, unrealistic or even just straight-up impossible. Props to us for the wishful thinking, but that doesn't always do us any favors for our overall mindset.

Setting SMART Goals

When setting goals it's important to set SMART goals. Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based goals. Let's break that down a little...

S - Specific goals meaning goals that are specific in nature. The more specific the better. Instead of "get in better shape" as a goal, make it "go to the gym regularly and lose x amount of body fat". Making goals more specific makes them easier to accomplish because you know it your head what you're trying to achieve exactly.

M - Measurable goals can be measured, put simply. This means that there is some way to quantify the goal and to quantify your progress. Instead of "learn french" as a goal, make it "finish Rosetta Stone's first 15 units of french lessons". Now you can measure when you're 25%, 50% and 100% complete.

A - Attainable goals are realistic goals. This means that the goals you set out to achieve can actually be accomplished. Generally it's good to hold yourself high and set high goals for yourself, but make sure they're actually something that you can achieve. Instead of "run a mile in 4 minutes" as a goal, make it "run a mile 7 minutes". Yes, there are people that can run a mile very fast, but if you're new to the running game, consider your abilities and what is realistic.

R - Relevant goals are goals that actually mean something to you where you are in your life now. The goals you set should resonate with you. For example, if you're in college working to get your bachelor's degree, it may not resonate with you to set a goal to have a child within a year. More than likely, that's not where you currently are in your life.

T - Time-based goals are goals with a specific time frame. It's generally a good idea to set goals with some end date in mind, or else you may just end up spinning your wheels and never truly going anywhere. Giving yourself a timeline helps you stay on track and continue moving forward.

So what is an example of a SMART goal? Let's say you're looking to create a healthy lifestyle and foster healthier habits. A SMART goal would be to lose 5% body fat within the next 6 months. It's specific, you're losing body fat. It's measurable, you want to lose 5%. It's attainable, in the past I've averaged about 0.5-1% body fat loss per month. It's relevant because you're looking to create a healthy lifestyle. And it's time-based, you've given yourself 6 months.