In the first part of this post we discussed S.M.A.R.T. goals. They are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. You’ll also recall that I added an S. for Sustainable. Because, once you have achieved a goal, what good does it do if you cannot sustain the gains? Whether your goals are related to weight loss, business, or your personal relationships, there are things that you can do to improve your odds of sustaining your improvements instead of falling back in to the old habits that you were trying to change to begin with.
To make the changes in your life permanent, you must make them a lifestyle change and focus on the process just as much as the outcome. And the way to focus on the process, is to create what I call process goals. Let’s apply this to the goal of losing ten pounds in ten weeks.
There are basically two levers that you can pull to lose weight. Those are calories in (your diet) and calories out (your metabolism). In today’s world, there are tons of easy ways to track these two levers accurately. Buy a Fitbit or a Garmin and download the app as an example. The device will provide a fairly accurate calorie burn number and you can easily enter your food intake for the calories in a portion. There you have it, a daily scorecard that will let you know if you are doing what you need to do to lose the weight. From here you can create a “process goal” of creating a 500-calorie daily deficit and track it.
To go a couple of steps further, now that you have a daily goal regarding calories, you can set “process goals” to impact the two levers. As an example, cutting down on soda, and anything with refined sugars will definitely decrease your calorie intake, and exercising will increase your calorie burn. So, if you set some process goals that looked like this: “Instead of soda I will drink water and I will run 30 minutes four times a week.” You will be creating new habits that will change your lifestyle permanently and help you achieve your goals. More importantly, once you have a achieved your goals, since this has become your new lifestyle, you will sustain your gains.
Here is the best part. Let’s say that you have achieved your goal and lost the weight. If you continue to track your weight weekly, and continue to track your daily calories in/out, you can make adjustments to your “process goals” to help stay on track. You see that you have gained a pound, take action right away! Increase your activity or look at what you have been eating. Have you strayed? Get back on track! Does everything look normal but maybe you need to increase your cardio? (Our metabolism slows as we get older!) You get the point.
What I am trying to say is, the difference between resolutions, that rarely get achieved and even more rarely, stick; and permanent changes that lead to a lifetime of improvements, is that permanent changes are made up of S.M.A.R.T.S. If you want help putting together an improvement plan for any aspect of your life, send me an e-mail! I love helping people achieve their goals.
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