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Take goal setting to the next level — make it SMART

Manageable goals will help you get the most out of 2019

Smart Goal Worksheet

Over the first few weeks of January, ParticipACTION has laid the groundwork for a happy, healthy and successful 2019. From avoiding the pitfalls of weight-loss resolutions, to honing in on your why, to an inspiring story on making positive changes anytime of year. Ultimately, the last few weeks have led us to this: setting realistic goals.

Sure, wanting to make your life Better with physical activity is great, but implementing a plan of attack and following through on it are a lot trickier than simply picking any random goal. So, instead of getting down on yourself for a failed resolution, it’s time to set some realistic goals to make sure we are getting the absolute most out of the year ahead.

So, what’s next?

Setting goals is a part of life — we all do it. It’s how we advance at work or plan for retirement. And just like the millions of Canadians who set them each and every year, there are just as many of us, if not more, who have trouble reaching those goals, and that’s OK.

However, now that you’ve – hopefully – found the root cause of your resolutions by finding your why, you’re primed for the next step. There is a simple and effective way to ensure the goals you set for yourself this year are ones that set you up for success, not failure. Make sure your new goals are SMART (Click to download the above SMART Goal Worksheet)

This means, you ideally want your goals to be:

Specific – Who? What? When? Why? Set your goal to be specific instead of vague, as specific goals are much more achievable.

Measurable – How will you track your progress? Fitbit? Activity app? Good ol’ pen and paper? Knowing how you are doing along the journey is crucial to actually reaching your goal.

Attainable – How will you go about achieving your goal? Think of tangible ways to get there and then act on them. Break your goal into smaller steps.

Realistic – Is your goal manageable, realistic? Look, we’d all probably like to climb Mount Everest and race in the Tour de France at some point, but let’s manage expectations just a bit to ensure you don’t get overwhelmed and discouraged.

Timely – When will you achieve your goal? How much time do you need to get there? Everyone is busy, so to help get you to where you want to be and reach your goal, take some time to create realistic timelines and plan ahead.

Sure, everyone loves a good acrostic poem now and then, but setting goals that follow the SMART guide are a lot more likely to be reached than those that don’t. So, the next time you have the agenda for the year open, refer to the above guide to help you really nail down a solid list that you can actually achieve.

Elderly couple in the snow

“Nothing in life comes easy! …”

Maybe it was mom or dad, grandma or grandpa or even a past coach who engrained the old saying into you. Whoever it was, you’ve heard it all before: nothing in life comes easy. And while that might still hold true, especially when it comes to achieving goals, there are plenty of ways (such as sticking to the SMART guide) to make the process much easier. Such as:

1.  Setting a positive goal – People who set positive goals and resolutions are much more likely to keep them in the long run than those who don’t.

2. Starting small – Set a smaller, more manageable mini-goal that you can take immediate action toward that will kick-start you in the right direction. Leave the bigger goals for after you’ve built up your confidence and got the ball rolling.

3. Including an activity you really enjoy – Maybe a bit easier said than done, but what’s wrong with trying to incorporate some of the activities you really love into trying to achieve your goal? It will make the process a whole lot easier.

4. Preparing for setbacks – When you make on omelette, you’re break a few eggs. Likewise, when you set goals, setbacks happen, no big deal, the end- product is what you’re looking for. So, wipe the yoke sweat off your brow and bounce back, bumps in the road are bound to happen. But when you’re prepared for them, getting back on track is a lot easier.

Aside from keeping the above in mind when setting goals, remember why it is you’re setting them in the first place — a good resolution should stem from your deepest desires. With the proper goal-setting tools and a renewed focus, there really is no telling how far you can go.

Still searching for your resolution? Check out our “Find your Better” quiz to help you get to the root cause behind this year’s resolution.

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