Goal planning is a process of determining what the individual person’s goals are, working towards them, and assessing whether their goals are met or not. Perhaps one of the easiest yet most efficient techniques for setting goals would be to use the SMART acronym: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.
Let’s break that down one by one.
Specific: having a specific goal has a much greater chance to be accomplished than a general goal. Make sure when doing so, provide with enough details so that you know what to do. For example, an idea of a general goal would be “I’m going to run more” . A specific goal would be “I’m going to run 1 mile everyday”
Measurable: choose a goal with measurable progress so that you can see the progress as it goes. A measurable goal is something that can be graded on a scale of 1-10, a hit or miss, failed or accomplished. Using the example of “running one mile a day” is a measurable goal because you can track whether you did it or not, whether you ran everyday or not.
Achievable: the goal has to be achievable within your current health, social, economic, and time available. If the goal is already difficult to begin with, it probably won’t be ideal. In our “running a mile everyday” example, if your social, economic, health, or time available doesn’t allow it, then it probably isn’t a good achievable goal.
Realistic: make sure to start small. Starting small allows you to stay within your capabilities and guarantee success. Gradually increase the difficulty of the goal as time goes by. In our example, “run 1 mile everyday”, is that a realistic goal for your current capabilities? Or can you only do ½ mile? Reassess the goal accordingly to you capabilities by reducing or increasing the intensity.
Timely: setting up a time frame for your goal; 1 month, 6 months, 12 months. This will allow you to set an end point to this goal so that you know there is a deadline.
Remember that goal planning isn’t only fitness oriented but can be easily applied to every aspect of life. Having a plan and a goal will reduce the stress, confusion, and frustration that you may be dealing with by providing stability. If fail to plan, you plan to fail.