Note: This is an edited extract from The Complete Guide To Setting Smart Goals.
I’ve been using SMART goals for 20 years or so. That’s a long time!
But recently I was reminded of just how powerful this little approach is.
I had a pair of leather pants that had been a couple of sizes too small for many years. About 6 months before my 43rd birthday, I decided that I really, really, wanted to fit into those pants again. And I wanted to do it by my birthday.
I wanted to lose weight – but ‘lose weight’ is a pretty poor goal. It’s vague; it has no end-point; therefore it isn’t practical; and it has no deadline.
So I created a SMART goal – one that’s specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-framed:
I fit comfortably into my leather pants – that is, I can zip them all the way up, walk around, and sit down – by my 43rd birthday.
Unlike ‘lose weight’, this goal was:
Specific: It spelled out exactly what I wanted – fitting into the pants, rather than vague objectives like getting slimmer or losing weight.
Measurable: It told me how I’d know when it was achieved – zipping up and walking around in a particular pair of pants.
Achievable: I had 6 months to go and I was prepared to work out and make changes to my diet – so going down a couple of sizes seemed reasonable.
Relevant: I love wearing cute clothes, and for some reason 43 felt like the age that I really wanted to reach this goal – so getting into those pants was relevant for me, and not at odds with other priorities.
Time-framed: I had a clear date for reaching my goal – my 43rd birthday.
When you compare my SMART goal with the goal ‘I want to lose weight’, you can see how the SMART goal has a lot more power behind it.
And because my goal was so well-defined, I had a ready-made process for achieving it…
• By making the goal specific and measurable, I had a built-in way of monitoring myself. Every night I tried on the leather pants. That way, I could see if I was moving in the right direction, and tweak my approach as needed. (Should I try a different kind of exercise? Eat more vegetables? Drink more water?) It was extremely motivating to see the gradual change as the pants started to fit me again.
• In checking the goal was achievable, I made sure I knew what I had to do – exercising a little more and eating a little more healthfully – and was prepared to do it. I knew it was possible to reach my goal; it wasn’t absurd or outlandish. That knowledge helped to keep me motivated. It wasn’t a fantasy. I knew I could do it!
• By checking the goal was relevant, I pre-empted self-sabotage. I checked that I was doing it for me (I was!) and that it wasn’t at odds with other priorities in my life.
• And because my goal was time-framed, there was a sense of urgency. I couldn’t procrastinate too much; I had to stay reasonably focussed. Of course I wasn’t perfect, but the deadline reminded me, after the inevitable mishaps and back-slides, that I had to get back on the right track.
By my 43rd birthday I was walking around in my leather pants. 🙂
SMART goals can work for you too. They provide an excellent, step-by-step process for turning vague desires into clear objectives that overcome self-sabotage and work with your natural motivation.
Complete Guide to Setting SMART goals
One thought on “How I Used SMART Goals To Achieve My Weight Loss Aim”
I like this idea of losing weight but in general to just slim down and lose some weight, dieting and exercising will work. Just do it as directed and you are ok to go, for real. Just stay dedicated and focused and you will be fine. I have more details on my weight loss story at http://howtolooseweighteasyway.blogspot.com/