One of the most important factors in achieving a goal is our reason for why we want this goal. If we don't dig deep and find the root cause behind our drive to change we often find ourselves losing motivation and giving up. This exercise is called the '5 whys'. It goes like this. You say your goal then you ask your self, 'why do I want this goal?' then, 'why is that important', then ask 'why does that matter?', then 'why' two more times. I'll give you an example:
I want to be more active this year.
Why do I want this goal?
- Because when I'm active I feel more energetic and my body looks better
Why is that important?
- When I have more energy I do better at work, I have more energy for my social life, and I'm more confident when I feel good about the way I look.
Why does that matter?
- My friendships and energy level really change the quality of my life, being more confident helps me be more social
- I value my mental health and relationships
- Because I care about my well-being and I know these things bring me joy.
As you can see being active, for me, is really about feeling confident, happy and energetic so that I can live a better life and do the things that bring me joy. If I hold on to those reasons, I am more likely to actually be more active than if I just want to lose 10 lbs.
Now that we've discovered our WHY lets talk about how to make your goal SMART. Smart goals are more likely to be achieved because they are well thought out.
the goal must be very specific. For my previous example. I need to lay out what 'being active' means to me. Does it mean walking around the block? Working out for an hour? Which activities count?
the goal must be measurable. For example: Exercise 4x per week, every week of the year. This allows me to check my progress and measure how well I'm doing my goal.
the goal must be attractive to you. I have to want to exercise! If the thought of exercise repulses me, I'm probably not going to do it. Ideally, the goal is something that sparks your interest even if I don't particularly like exercising, the benefits are so attractive to me that I am excited about it.
the goal must be realistic. If I say I'm going to exercise everyday for the whole year! I will definitely fail. Set a goal that is really possible for you with all other variables of your life considered.
The goal must be time bound. If I say, 'I'm going to exercise 4 times' there is no time frame for those 4 times. I could exercise 4 times through out the whole year and feel 0 benefits. Instead, I will say 'I will exercise 4 times every week of 2019'. This has 2 time-bound components, the week and the year. This gives me a gauge to know how well I am doing on my goals.