We work with a lot of people wanting to achieve a lot of different things here at Prep Kitchen, so we feel we have a good handle on what it takes to elevate yourself to another level. People who start with wishy washy, undefined goals, often get results in the short term, but quickly lose track of what they started for, where they want to go, and ultimately fall off the wagon.
Our best advice to anyone who wants to set 2022 apart is to use SMART goals.
But what are SMART goals? SMART goals are:
- Time bound
It seems so simple. The goal you want to achieve needs to be specific. Not just in terms of what the goal is, but you also need to understand why the goal is important. This means “I want to start running”, becomes:
“I want to progress from walking frequently to running, so that I can build up my fitness and live a longer life.”
The above resolution is better, but how will you know when you’ve achieved what you set out to achieve? How will you track progress? And most importantly how will you stay motivated? This is where measuring comes in. How far are you going to run? How often are you going to run? When do you want to be able to run your target distance by? And what sort of time do you want to run that distance in?
“I want to progress from walking to running 5k. I want to be able to run 5k consistently without walking, and I want my 5k time to be below 30 minutes. This will make me fitter, stronger, and in the long term help me live a longer life.”
Again, it seems obvious, but it’s often overlooked. Is your goal pie in the sky or is it achievable? You want to set your sights high and push yourself, but on the flip side, you don’t want to demotivate yourself. If you don’t currently run, signing yourself up for an ultra-marathon in 3 months will at best result in you not turning up, and at worst hospitalise you.
There’s a hidden sub goal to this aspect of SMART. Of course, you know you can run 5k. But how do you get from where you’re at, to running 5k in under 30 minutes? Well first you might need to walk 5k. Then you might need to run for 5 minutes and walk for a further 5. Then run 10 minutes, walk 10 minutes. Etc. (PRO TIP: If running is your actual goal. The Couch to 5k app is the best tool at your disposal, it breaks everything down and gets people from all levels to running 5k.)
Do you actually care about running, or is it just something you feel like you should care about? Probably a bit of a philosophical question, but if now isn’t the right time for you to start this goal, your heart isn’t going to be in it. So find another goal you want to achieve.
Without giving yourself a realistic time limit to achieve your goal, your goal is just a wish. And it’s going to get lost as your everyday life takes over. In 3 weeks, you’re going to get to the evening and know you need to run, but that extra little bit of work is going to be calling. And on balance, even a little bit of extra work is probably preferable to a run on a wet night when you don’t feel like it.
“I want to progress from walking to running 5k, every other day. I want to be able to run 5k consistently without walking, and I want my 5k time to be below 30 minutes. This will make me fitter, stronger, and in the long term help me live a longer life. I want to be able to do this by the end of March 2022. In order to do this, I need to:
- Be able to walk 5k by the end of January.
- Run at a slow pace for 10 minutes, and walk at a slow pace for 10 minutes by 15th Feb.
- And run at a slow pace for 30 minutes by the end of February.”
Finally, once you’ve run 5k, is that it? Hopefully not. Think about this before you achieve it. Write some longer-term SMART goals to go with your shorter-term ones. Maybe you want to run a half marathon by next January?
We know that most people who have landed on this page around New Years, probably want to lose ‘some weight’. If you really want to lose some weight this year, try applying SMART goals to your resolution. How much weight do you want to lose, and why do you want to lose it? Are your timeframes realistic? Do you need to lose weight, or could another goal suit you better? (e.g., building some strength).
Here’s an example you can tweak to fit your goals:
“I want to lose 10kg by 30th April 2022. I want to do this to improve my self-confidence, lower my cholesterol, and increase my energy. To achieve this, I need to lose 1/2kg (1lb) per week. To lose 1/2kg a week, I need to eat 500 fewer calories a day than my body needs to maintain my current weight. I need to eat 2,500 calories a day to maintain my current weight of 80kg, so I will target and track 2,000 calories per day. Each week I’ll track my weight to make sure it’s trending downwards overtime.”
Of course you need to figure out how much you want to lose, and as a realistic rule of thumb we wouldn’t recommend a goal where you need to lose much more than half a kilo a week, or you lose weight for for too long, as both will get difficult and demotivating. And you also need to calculate how much you need to eat to maintain your current weight (you can use this handy calculator https://tdeecalculator.net/).
If you need any help with your goals, you’re in luck. Our goal here at Prep Kitchen is to help 1,000 people achieve their goals in 2022. We will do this by helping people form their goals, guiding them to the appropriate support to achieve those goals, and checking in with them as they progress. Whether it’s a PT, a life coach, or a diet plan. So drop us an email firstname.lastname@example.org