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SMART Goals and AARs: Goal Setting, Part 2

A good trainer should be able to help you set SMART goals for the year.  In Goal Setting, Part I, we discussed finding a goal that is significant to you.  Now we will dig deeper on how to measure and manage your movements towards that goal.

SMART goals:

  • Specific: “I want to squat 3x my bodyweight within the next 6 months,” not “I want to squat more weight.”
  • Measurable: “3x my body weight” is quantifiable; “more” is not.
  • Actionable: I am able to take specific steps, which we will call “objectives,” to accomplish my goal.
  • Realistic: I can already squat over 2.5x my body weight, so 3x is realistic, while 4x is not.
  • Timely: I have a time frame, which we will call a “finish line,” and it is 6 months.

For the next part, you will need a blank sheet of paper and a pen.  Let’s use the SMART goals framework to create a map for your goals.  If you’d like, you can complete the following steps for your fitness, personal, and professional goals.

Setting SMART Goals

  1. On the vertical side, write, from top to bottom: 5 years, 1 year, 90 days, 60 days, 30 days.
  2. Across the top, write: Goal, Objective, Finish Line, Sustain, Improve.
  3. Fill out your “Goals,” beginning with the long term and ending with 30 days.  We call this backwards planning.
  4. Complete the “Objectives” for each goal. These are the actions you must take to accomplish your goal. 2-3 objectives per goal should suffice.  Objectives for fitness goals could include the number of times you will go to the gym each week or how many meals you will cook per week.
  5. The “Finish Line” is your end date. If today is November 1, 2013, your finish line for your 30-day goal is December 1, 2013.
  6. The “Sustain” and “Improve” is to be left blank for now. If will be completed in your after action review, as you cross each finish line.
  7. Tell your friends and family about your goals so they can help motivate you and you may inspire them to pursue their own goals.

Not only is it important to set goals, but you must revisit your goals frequently to measure your progress.  After each finish line, complete an after action review.  Take your paper with your written goals and ask yourself the following questions.

SMART Goals After Action Review

  1. Always start with the positive.  What worked well?  Write this under “Sustain.”  How can you make it a repeatable process for future goals of yours and others?
  2. What could be improved upon? How?  This goes under “improve.”
  3. Do your long-term goals still apply?  Make any necessary changes to your long-term goals.
  4. Continue to build your support network and your scope of influence by telling your friends and family about your goals.

Consider the following, while completing your after action review.

Failure is okay

“I did not fail 1000 times; the light bulb was an invention of 1000 steps” (Thomas Edison). Learning how not to do something can be as valuable as learning how to do it. It is also an opportunity to reassess if it is worth doing. Never be afraid of failure. If it is impossible to fail, your goal isn’t challenging enough. In the fitness environment especially, it is a safe place to learn to fail. Your job isn’t on the line, nor is your family. Only your ego may bruise, but with equal parts courage and humility, you can attempt big goals in the gym. As Edison said, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Churchill enforces this sentiment, “Never, ever, ever give up.”

Goals Change

While you should never give up due to failure, do understand the fine line of assessing goals and realizing that they do change. That said, you should not be changing your 30-day goals. But your long-term goals can and should change over time. There are unknown unknowns and known unknowns that will present themselves through experience and will influence what it is you want to do and who it is you want to be. We have both short and long-term goals in order to have finish lines to reassess our goals and motivations. After each finish line, we will look at what worked and what didn’t work and make any necessary changes. The only constant is change.

It’s that time again.  Scroll down to the comments and tell us your SMART goal for the next 30-days. 

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