One thing that is common to most goal setting systems, including SMART goals, is the time-bound element.
Most goals are set with a deadline for completion. While this is a fundamental structure that allows us to see how we are progressing, it is really an inherent problem in the long haul. For example, how many people have set a weight loss goal for 90 days and done real well, only to gain it all back and then some once the goal was completed.
It’s very common and the statistics aren’t very good. Over 90% of people who go on a diet (weight loss goal) regain it. So, with this in mind, even if our time bound goals are successful, in many cases the results are short lived. The problem is, old habits resurface and doom us to failure.
This is where SMARTER Goals come in. We take the basic SMART Goal structure and add two letters to the end. Lets take a look at the difference between the two. Here is a basic New Year’s SMART Goal to lose ten pounds.
Specific: I will lose ten pounds by making better food choices
Measurable: At the end of each week I will have lost one pound
Actionable: I will reduce my daily calories by 500 each day. 3500/week
Realistic: I will replace junk food with fruits and vegetables.
Time Bound: I will have lost the ten pounds after 10 weeks
If we are successful we will have lost 10 pounds in 10 weeks. But there is nothing here to make that permanent. In fact, the time bound nature says that our goal is over with after 10 weeks. So then what? For most people, they are relieved that the goal is over and revert slowly back to their old ways of eating.
Let’s look at a better way. Two added Tenets for Smarter Goals
Existing Habit: I will replace my fattening treat at Starbucks with Fruit
Routine: I will have my Latte with a banana instead of a scone
With SMARTER Goals we tie in Goal Setting with Habit Change. We identify an existing habit that we want to change or modify, and then write out a new routine. This does two things. It gives us an easier way to reach our goals, and because we have changed an existing habit, has made the process much more permanent.
In the example above, we have taken an existing habit: Going to Starbucks everyday and having a high calorie treat, and modified it in a subtle way. We replace the high calorie treat we usually have with a banana or other fruit, which has less calories. Since this is an ongoing habit, our change will become permanent. That is the secret of SMARTER Goals: The time bound part is just an initial guide. With a habit change our SMARTER Goal continues on, and so does our weight loss.
In fact, we should change our wording a little.
Let’s change Time Bound to Time Bound Guide and let’s add a caveat to our title. In many cases our SMARTER Goals can easily become SMARTER Goals for Life because we have changed a fundamental long term habit in our lives.
I have some really good news. In the coming week, I’ll share Five SMARTER Goals for Life that you can easily do in the upcoming year that can make a significant difference in these important areas of your daily life.
Each of these goals can be easily implemented and all tie in with existing habits most people already have. But that’s not all. We’ll add in some important new information on habit change that will supercharge each one of them.
I can’t wait to tell you about our exclusive Habit Blender which will allow you to create powerful blended habits, that are designed just for you.
My team and I are designing a low cost program to go along with this system that will be released later this year, that includes step-by-step instructions, worksheets, instructional videos, and a fully operational Habit Blender, to help you set and accomplish specific goals that that are relevant and will last a lifetime, along with goal specific action steps.