How to Set Smart Goals for Weight Loss and Exercise

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Hi, I'm Dr. Mike Clark, Sharecare chief science officer. One of the most critical elements to achieving success in any endeavor whether you're trying to loose weight, improve your health, perceive greater personal and professional fulfillment is the process of setting goals. Goal setting is an important part of understanding and identifying progress, throughout your fitness and wellness journey, More importantly, it provides you with a road map for direction and clear action.

You wont start a trip without identifying where you're trying to get to first. The same goes for your journey with personal health and fitness. However, not all goal setting processes are created equal. In order to maximize your success, what I'm going to discuss in this video is how to get smart with your goal setting.

To get smart with goal setting, the first thing I want you to do is write down the letters SMART down the left hand-side of the notepad. These letters represent an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Setting smart goals will not only help you to decide what your goal should be but also increase your ability to stay razor-focused and committed to your plan of action once it`s created.

Now, that you have the acronym written down, I want to walk you through each step and make sure that you understand how to construct your goal. Okay, let's begin. As mentioned previously S stands for Specific. To ensure success, you must be crystal clear about what you want to accomplish.

What exactly do you want to change or do? Why do you want this particular change to occur? Setting specific goals will result in a much better performance than just setting easy goal, no goal or just saying that you want to lose weight. Also keep your goals in line with your own personal ideals and ambitions.

Doing the goal for yourself and not others is critically important. An example of a specific goal is, I want to lose 20 pounds so that I can look good and feel great while I'm on vacation with my family. Now, let's focus on M, which stands for Measurable. Can you measure your progress towards your goal? Being able to assess your progress and see how well you're coming along will help you become more compliant and committed to your goal.

If your goal is weight loss, be sure to weigh in weekly to track how you're progressing towards your goal, and determine if you need to make any adjustments to your program. Next is A, for Attainable. Is your goal actually something that you can do? Setting goals that you can visualize yourself achieving will make you more committed.

However, that doesn't mean that your goals should not challenge you. Research shows that you're more likely to stay committed to a big challenging goal versus an easy goal. Now, let's discuss R which stands for Realistic. Are your goals realistic? Are the skills and structure in place for you to be able to achieve your goal? Break down your goals into smaller more manageable ones, that can make what seems unrealistic less daunting and more conceivable.

Accomplishing smaller goals will keep you motivated. Last, but certainly not least, T stands for Timely. Putting a time frame on your goal will help keep you on target. The time frame you decide on must coincide with other aspects of your program. For example, loosing 20 pounds in four weeks is unrealistic and not attainable.

However, if you give yourself a time frame of 12 week to loose the same 20 pounds, that is very realistic and attainable. So, let's pull this all together into a smart goal statement. I will loose 20 pounds in 12 weeks by consistently eating healthy food and exercising at least 30 minutes a day, and that is how you get smart with your goals.

Now, that is how you get smart with you goal setting. Using this technique, will allow you to work smarter, not harder when pursuing your Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely goals.