Author: Renu Puri
Setting SMART goals is used by people worldwide to define and implement actions in a streamlined way. These are goals that are generally used in the healthcare, marketing, and business space but people have started implementing these into their fitness journeys to experience fabulous results.
Adopting a new, healthier lifestyle can initially be tough for both your mind and body. Learning to set realistic goals would deeply benefit you in the long haul. In this blog, we have explained what SMART goals are, how they can help you, and how you can start building them.
The year has just started and a lot of people are still going strong on their new year’s fitness resolution, be it weight loss, muscle gain, body toning, or just adopting a fresh mindset to get fit. Whatever the reason might be, it can oftentimes be a challenge to navigate what works for you and what doesn’t. The best way to succeed in your fitness journey is by setting SMART goals. Having a vague goal like “I want to start eating healthy” or “I want to lose weight” can lead to frustration as vague goals don’t have clear starting or endpoints. SMART goals have been used in professional settings forever and if you work in the field of business or healthcare, you may have used these to evaluate certain measures yourself. Nowadays, fitness experts and enthusiasts are promoting the use of SMART goals to reach your fitness goals.
You may be wondering how something used in business and healthcare settings could be used to transform your own life. Well, SMART goals set you up for success by helping you follow a proven framework. In no way are we saying that if you set SMART goals, you are guaranteed to transform your life. Of course, you will have to put in the hard work and action, but this framework will help you stay focused and help you with structure and organization.
If you are tired of living an unhealthy, unorganized, and unkempt life which frustrates you with low energy and extra inches around the waist, our certified nutritionists are here to help you. We will start by educating you on what SMART goals for health are, some examples, benefits, and how you can implement these in your regime.
The SMART goal method is a framework that is intended to aid people in creating a defined structure to succeed at their goals. SMART is an acronym that stands for –
Is your goal specific enough? Being specific is very important. As we mentioned before, a vague goal would lead to frustration and confusion. Being specific helps focus on the method to achieve the goal and not focus solely on the outcome. This is the phase where you reinforce what needs to be done. We recommend being as precise as possible. Rather than saying “I want to lose weight”, you could say “I want to lose weight by eating 6 small and healthy meals per day”. This activity-centered goal will help you streamline your focus and define what exactly needs to be done. Always remember that approach-centered goals have more substance and efficacy.
An approach-centered goal lets you form a habit, learn a new skill, and helps you hone your potential as they aim to solve a problem and keep you engaged throughout the process. For example – If you have your day packed with back-to-back meetings and you know you have to have 6 small meals per day, you will switch up your meal times a day prior to accommodate your schedule without compromising on the goal.
Losing weight or getting your fitness on track involves a lot of steps. We always suggest breaking down one step at a time, starting with dietary changes and then venturing on to explore physical fitness so you can see and track measurable progress.
Adding a measurable quality to your goal will enable you to measure the progress of your work which will in turn give you the motivation to keep going. Whenever you see results for anything you put your hard work into, you tend to be proud of your accomplishments and get an adrenaline rush to work twice as hard. For example – If you see that eating 6 small meals per day is helping you lose 1 kg per week, you can easily track on your calendar as to how long it will take you to lose 6 kg.
We encourage you to innovate and create out-of-the-box ideas for measuring your progress. If you work in a stressful environment and want to unwind, you may want to set a goal of doing breathing exercises thrice a day for 5 minutes each time. Keep notes of it and monitor your stress levels every day to measure how well it is working for you.
Since measuring helps you track your progress, you can also mold your goals towards meeting your objectives. Let’s say your goal of doing breathing exercises for reducing stress is only helping you reduce stress during night-time, you can reduce the frequency to one time a day. Measuring also leaves room to evaluate situations that cause roadblocks in your journey and how you can avoid them in the future.
We always tell our clients and supporters to set realistic goals. Realistic goals take into account a person's current abilities, resources, and lifestyle, and are achievable with effort and commitment. They are also measurable so progress can be tracked and celebrated which can in turn boost motivation and confidence. Promoting realistic goals also ensures that the person setting the goals has enough motivation for incremental progress which can be more sustainable than making drastic changes that are difficult to maintain. Setting a goal that tells you to “Lose 2-4 kg in a month” as opposed to losing “20 kg in 3 months” would be a better approach to healthy weight loss.
Goals should be ambitious but not impossible. We recommend setting smaller goals so that when you reach them, you feel that your efforts are showing up and you feel motivated to achieve more. Along with the goal, the process should also be realistic. If you have a busy work schedule, try opting for meal preps to avoid drifting away from your goals. If you think of making your meals every day, on a busy work day when you’re exhausted, you would end up ordering food from outside. So remember to set attainable goals and have an attainable process to achieve those goals.
With the emergence of the toxic social media culture, every man wants to look like Chris Evans and every woman wants to look like Kim Kardashian. What they fail to understand is that these celebrities have registered dietitians and fitness trainers following their every move. Since the bread and butter for most celebrities are their faces and bodies, they put in immense hard work (and some alleged enhancement procedures) to look the way they do. Although nothing is impossible when you put in hard work and dedication, the result might be different than you would anticipate and the reason for that is that everyone’s body structure is different. Some people have broad shoulders, some have slender waists, and some are genetically more muscular than others. It is not fair to you to have unreal expectations to look a certain way. Remember, your best self is your healthiest self!
Every step of attaining your end goal should be relevant to you. Let’s say you do not find true joy in eating breakfast, and would rather prefer to skip it and have a wholesome lunch instead, then you may want to try intermittent fasting because it seems more relevant to your preferred schedule. Goals should be inspiring and should motivate you to go above and beyond. If you force yourself to do something, chances are that you would not feel like keeping up with your schedule.
It has to come from within and be in sync with your mindset. If your gym trainer tells you to lose weight but you are not inspired to do it from within, you will not be able to follow through. You should have an intent and relevancy underlying the goal, something like “If I lose weight, I will be able to trek the mountains”, or “If I lose weight I will fit back into my favorite pair of jeans”. Remember to always set relevant goals for yourself and not be dictated by someone else as to what you would want to achieve.
Setting a time-bound fitness goal can help create a sense of urgency and accountability which can motivate people to stay on track and work towards their goal with more focus and determination. A specific timeframe can also provide a clear target for progress tracking and help individuals better plan and prioritize their efforts. By allotting time to a goal, you can help avoid procrastination and make consistent progress towards achieving your fitness objectives.
For example saying “I will start eating healthy this year” sounds ok, but saying “ I will not have any junk food for 8 weeks” gives you a more focused approach to reaching your goal within a specific time frame. Once you reach your 8-week goal, measure your progress and set a new goal on the basis of your progress.
Setting your SMART health goals initially can seem a little intimidating. That is why our certified nutritionists have collaborated to give you some good examples so you can start your fitness journey to live a better and more fulfilling life:
Just because you created SMART goals does not ensure that you would be motivated throughout your fitness journey. SMART goals will just help you streamline your focus and help you achieve things strategically. This would call for you to keep your motivation at its peak, empower self-discipline, and seek inspiration from anywhere possible. On the days that you feel like giving up, lift your chin and give yourself a pep talk. Expert tip: Motivation is the outcome to better habits.
Networking may seem like an indispensable thing in your professional life but it is also one thing that can really prove to be really beneficial for your personal life. Meeting like-minded people who are on the same type of fitness journey as you, who share common goals, and who are dedicated to being a better version of themselves are the ones who can really lift you up and connect with your inner being. You can also get together and play some sports or run a marathon.
Growth is the driving factor that keeps us going. A growth-oriented outlook will help you keep your focus on discovering new things and building on your skillset. The growth mindset is the same mindset that allows you to get up from your comfort zone and take good risks. If you have the patience and hard work to achieve something, growth will always follow.
It is human to slack off and stray away from our plans to do something but if done in excess, can really hamper our goals. Taking accountability and holding yourself responsible will not let you sway away no matter how hard it gets. To inculcate accountability, practice journaling so you can reflect back on your actions and look out for what you would want to avoid next time. You can also look for an accountability partner – someone who can check in on you and make sure that you are making progress the way you anticipated.
Everyone fails but it is important to know how to get back up after failing. Learn from your mistakes and setbacks. Failure is a part of life and all of your favorite celebrities and influencers also have somewhere faced failures with regards to their health goals in life. Instead of crucifying yourself for your mistake, accept it, take it as a lesson, and move on. If you think your plans and processes are not sustainable, work around a new strategy but do not give up on your progress.
Nothing makes us happier than seeing our clients live their best life. We can proudly say that after decades of experience in the health and nutrition space, we have helped thousands of clients achieve their SMART goals - be it weight loss, muscle gain, reversing PCOS, or other health issues like diabetes, etc. Sometimes, no matter how dedicated you are in your fitness journey, you would need an accountability partner to guide you towards the best way to reach your goal while ensuring utmost safety.
Do you have a goal set for a transformation this year? Do you feel like you have had enough of living in an unfit body? Do you feel like you are ready to embrace change? Do you feel like you want to live your life as the best version of yourself? Let us have the privilege to invite you for a conversation to discuss your SMART goals for the coming year and bring your dream body to life!
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At niwi.ai, we have helped thousands of clients transform their lives and feel stronger, more energetic, and definitely more confident in how they look and feel, by improving their relationship with food!