Goals are different from dreams. You might dream of winning the lottery or getting through to the final of X Factor, but if you’re honest the chance of either of those dreams coming true is pretty remote.
A goal is a dream with a deadline. It is something that can definitely be achieved – if you follow the SMART guide below. For a goal to be SMART it must be:
Here’s what I mean:
Specific: Goals must be clear, unambiguous and compelling. They should set out exactly what you want to achieve because your mind is like a guided missile and needs an exact course to be plotted to make sure it hits the target. No waffle, no ifs or maybes.
Measurable: What good is a goal that you can’t measure? For example, saying “I’ll lost lots of weight soon” can’t be measured. How much weight exactly? When? You need to set clear milestones to help your motivation because then you can chart your progress and measure your success.
Attainable: Goals must be realistic and attainable because if you set them too high or too low they become meaningless and you’ll just ignore them. “I’ll drop four dress sizes this month” isn’t going to work.
Relevant: If your aim is to lose a certain number of dress sizes in a certain time then don't add another goal that’s unconnected, for example ‘I’ll drop two dress sizes in two months and win the tennis championships,” because this will only confuse your unconscious mind. Use winning the tennis championship as a visualisation aid to help achieve the dress-size goal.
Time-bound: For goals to work they must have starting points and ending points because you need to focus on short periods of achievement, or a long period cut into smaller chunks. “I’ll lose 20lbs in the next few months” is too woolly and open-ended. If you don’t fix a date, how can you achieve it?
Write down your goals and share them and you’re already on the way to turning them into reality because when someone close to you knows your goals they can hold you to account and make sure you’re taking them seriously.
Take your big goal and break
it down into smaller chunks
It's vital to break your goals down into small achievable chunks so you can hold yourself to them and make regular progress towards the end result. Once your one or two week mini-goal has been achieved, revisit and reset your goals so you always have something fresh to aim at and accomplish.
One Slimpodder wants to go from size 22 jeans to size 14 in six months. That's a big, big goal and one she might find hard to stick to if she didn't follow my advice, as she'll only be making small steps towards it each week.
So I've suggested she hangs up her size 20 jeans on her wardrobe door so she's constantly seeing them because this reinforces the goal and makes it obvious that it is realistic and achievable. Dropping two sizes at a time in four small stages is much easier than dropping four sizes in one big go, isn't it!
Her goal each month is now much smaller and, to her unconscious mind, much more achievable. Once she can fit into her size 20 pair, she's going to hang up a size 18 pair. When they fit, she'll hang up a size 16 pair - and so on until she reaches her goal.
Write it down, draw a picture
or create a dream diary
Some people are stimulated by words, others by pictures. So depending what appeals to you lost, either write down your goals in SMART list or draw a goal map, even if it’s matchstick figures. Colour them with vivid colours so they look exciting.
Another useful idea that works for some people is to create a dream diary, in which you use a combination of photos and words to create a little book which you can flick through any time you want to confirm your goals and visualise the way ahead.
People losing weight sometimes find old photos of the way they looked a few years ago – maybe before children came along! – and paste them in their private diary along with the SMART goals they have set around their planned weight loss.
Thinking Slimmer's FREE online goalmapping
My good friend Brian Mayne has created a brilliant FREE Thinking Slimmer online goalmapping system where you can create your own personal goal map to help you achieve your targets. Brian's visual goalmapping is a technique I use a lot to help me achieve my own personal goals and I believe the secrets he will reveal to you are essential for anyone wanting to change their lifestyle and create a "new you."
Go to Thinking Slimmer's FREE goalmapping online >>