It’s 2013. Achieve your goals. Think SMARTER.
It’s 2013. Achieve your goals. This time, for real.
When it comes to fitness and personal training (or anything in your life for that matter), I am constantly asking my clients to create personal goals. And I bet you’ve already heard about S.M.A.R.T. goals…it’s logical, it’s formulaic, it has to work! Right?
Wrong. Over the years, I’ve seen people set SMART goals and still fail…they don’t even come close to achieving them. Sure, maybe in the first two or three weeks they were totally gung ho, but it just didn’t happen. So let’s make this time different and set S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals!
If you Google SMARTER goals, you’ll get pretty much the exact same thing as a SMART goal, with two extra letters added on. I developed my own SMARTER acronym as a whole new way of looking at goals, a little less linear and formulaic. This system requires you to look inside yourself and make them really personal – which in turn makes them happen. My personal training clients who set, achieve and maintain (or surpass) their goals already have SMARTER goals in mind, we use the SMART method as a step by step plan. The two must work together for success. This is what I have observed that separates the successful people from those that struggle.
S – is for Support System
No man (or woman) is an island. I spent several years “going it alone,” as one of my favourite sayings used to be “if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself!” Even though I got somewhere with that attitude, I now see how I could’ve done it a million times easier (and probably faster) if I had surrounded myself with people that supported me to achieve my goals.
I used to work as a receptionist in a Vancouver based women’s only gym where many of the personal trainers there were competitive body builders. It was EASY to eat clean and it was fun to get into the weight room with them. They were 100% behind me, in getting what I wanted, and always picked me up when I was down (sometimes literally). When I switched jobs (due to school) and worked with people that didn’t care for fitness, I struggled to find the motivation to eat well and work out. The people I worked with thought I was a fitness freak and almost made fun of me a little for being “obsessed,” so I needed to find a new group of people to help me stay motivated.
The take home is to find people in your life that will support you to no matter what. Your support system is what gets you through the tough times. Sure, it’s easy when things are going well and you’re happy. You need people to pull you out from under the bed when you just want to hide there. Hey, having a personal trainer is also a great start…
M is for Meaningful and Motivating
How many times have we seen people “want” something that isn’t really meaningful to them? Programming from society, family or friends can impact us if we don’t take the time to consider what we want and why. Sure, at 3 in the afternoon or on Monday at 10am, it’s easy to say “hey, I should go to the gym and get fit! I’ll start tomorrow morning before work” and feel extremely excited and motivated by that. But when your alarm goes off at 5am, what really gets you to drag your butt out of bed? Honestly? When you’ve had a long day at work and are starving for first food you can get your hands on (a muffin, a burger…), what makes you reach for an apple instead? (even if you go to Starbucks, they sell fruit). If the thought of goal you want truly brings happiness, satisfaction and meaning to you when you think about it, then you’ve got it!
A is for Accountable
When I was a student, there were times I had to thank my profs for having hard deadlines and final exams (yes, it’s true). If University were an open system that allowed me to take courses, hand in papers and write exams whenever I felt like it, I’d most definitely still be a professional student. I used these deadlines to hold me accountable; no exam, no pass, no kinesiology degree. If I knew my exam was a couple weeks away, you better believe I MADE TIME to study.
Many clients use set deadlines to be successful. They jump on opportunities like vacations, weddings, school reunions to make it happen. I’ve even had clients use doctor’s appointments to motivate them – and it works!
Lastly, I’ve observed that holding oneself accountable for actions (or inactions) makes a huge difference in forward movement. Often, people will hire personal trainers because they think we’ll hold them accountable. The truth is that you have to do the work, whether we’re standing there or not. We can give you tough love on Monday, we can yell on Tuesday, beg on Wednesday, kill you with kindness on Thursday…but at the end of the day, your ability to get great results fall into your hands.
R is for Rewards!!
When my first coach asked me how I was going to reward myself for a job well done, I looked at her dumbfounded. I felt that I either didn’t deserved a reward, it was a waste of time and money, or thought that the achievement was reward in and of itself. If you look around at society, or even your workplace, you’ll notice that motivated people like rewards, even if they seem silly and small (Air miles, grocery shopping points, money back credit cards…). For me, it’s like a game with achievable targets that I can attain in a short period of time. Yes, the long-term goal IS the reward, AND, remember that the journey can be fun too.
What kind of fun reward would you like every couple of weeks (or every week) if you hit the bull’s eye? For example if your goal is to lose 10 pounds, mini check points could be “stick to the nutrition plan for two weeks,” “lose 5 pounds” or “attend my training sessions for a full month and give 100%.” Rewards can range from “manicure” or “spend an extra hour on facebook” to “watch my guilty pleasure movie” or “awesome night out with my friends.” The point is, you’ll need to come up with a reward that is fun and motivating enough to help you along. Key word – FUN.
T is for Top of Mind
Do you see your goals every single day? If I asked you this second, why are you doing this, you can see, in your mind’s eye EXACTLY what you wish to achieve? If you have it written down, could you recite the words that excite and move you? So are your goals and action steps top of mind?
I have a list of 15 goals to achieve in 3 months. When I started this game, I would write those 15 goals down at the beginning of the quarter, then somehow COMPLETELY forget about them. Three months later…oh…haha, riiighht….THOSE goals…um….No. One of my coaches told me that the most successful people in the world see their goals every day, and the top 1% write them down every single day. I scoffed at this idea for a full year. Now I write my goals down every single day. I have gotten through half of the list already because it’s top of mind. I have images on my computer, that I can scroll through any time, that continually motivate and remind me of what I have to do and WHY I do it. Top of mind. Don’t worry, you’re not being obsessive, it’s just 10 – 15 minutes to gently remind yourself of the joy and pleasure you will receive when you get to your goal, and the action steps on how to get there. Fun! And who doesn’t want more joy and pleasure in their lives, every day?
E is for Ego and Empathy
How many times have we watched a movie or read a book where the good guy is on a roll, things are going totally awesomely, and then his or her ego jumps in and almost destroys everything? There is nothing wrong with having an ego, we all have one, it’s when the ego drives you and starts spinning things sideways that you’ll really have to take control (the trick is to keep it in check before things go sideways).
Trying to out-do someone, doing things in spite of others, kicking yourself when you’re down, attaching your self worth to your level of achievement, taking things personally – these are examples of times when the ego is trying to steer your life down a pot-hole filled road, instead of allowing you to drive on the freeway in the right direction. Your mission: give your ego the back seat and put empathy in the co-pilot seat – more empathy for yourself (not a pity party), empathy for others and the situation. Mastering this process simply makes your journey a lot smoother and funner. Because no one wants pot-holes while driving your Ferrari.
R is for Regularly Revise
When picking dreams to achieve, we’ll often do it during a daydream, an epiphany, when our minds are open, free and clear. This is a good place to be! So there you are, happily chugging along and a month later, it hits the fan. Someone in the family gets sick, you get a new supervisor that expects you to stay late, you lost the big account, you slipped on the ice and sprained your knee…the list is endless. And no, it’s not an excuse to give up your dream. I repeat, it’s NOT AN EXCUSE to give up your dream. It’s just an opportunity to revise your plan.
I used to have one of two reaction when my life went sideways and I couldn’t achieve my goals (1) I would consider myself a total failure in all ways and sink into a depression or (2) I would scrap the idea all together, throw my hands (or the project, if I was working on something physical) in the air and say “forget it!” Sometimes I would do both. What a wasted opportunity!
Maybe it will take an extra two months to get there, or maybe you’ll have to rock out a size 8 dress at the party, or instead of trekking in Nepal for the 4 week tour, you’ll have to settle for the 3 week option… Check in with your progress compared to your goals, stay realistic, ask for help and remember, “all roads lead to Rome.”
There you have it – the patented Le Physique system for SMARTER goal setting (okay, so it’s not patented…). Use it before you utilize your SMART goal plan to create the framework for your steps. THIS year, your fitness and life goals will be on the right path and fast-tracked for success. This year your personal trainer can fully support you 100% because it’s what you want to achieve. This time, you will use Vancouver as your playground. This time it will be different. Because this time it’s personal, and we’re behind you all the way! Download our SMART Goal setting worksheet here.