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Why Setting SMART Goals Is Not Enough and the Missing Key Ingredient

We all know that staying motivated and committed to your goals is important, but it can be hard. It’s easy to get discouraged when you’re trying to change habits or commit to a goal. You might start off strong, but then lose steam after a few weeks of not seeing results. This happens because we often set unrealistic goals for ourselves and don’t take into account how our lives are going at the moment.

Some people say the key is setting SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound) that will help you stay on track with your health journey while also taking into account what else is going on in your life right now. But there’s one key secret that most people miss when they set these goals: self-forgiveness. In this article, we’ll talk about how to set SMART goals, and why self-forgiveness is the missing key ingredient to get consistent results. 

Set a Specific Goal and Focus On It

Make sure your goals are focused. Without it, your goals will be too vague to achieve. For example:

❌I want to be skinny. 

✅I want to lose 10 pounds by walking 30 minutes each day and counting calories in the next three months.

Once you’ve set the goal, make sure to write it down. According to a goal-setting study, “76 percent of participants who wrote down their goals, actions and provided weekly progress to a friend successfully achieved their goals.” 

Set Measurable Goals

You can’t manage what you can’t measure. And when you’re working on a goal, you’re managing yourself and the actions you take, so you can make progress. If your goal is to lose weight, how are you going to measure it? What is your clear definition of success?

Other examples: 

  • I want to fit into my dress for graduation.
  • I want to improve my grades by one letter.
  • I want to save for a $500 trip

Set Achievable or Attainable Goals 

I can’t stress enough how important it is to stress realistic goals, especially in the beginning. For example, “I want to look like a 25-year old CrossFit trainer.” This might be attainable for some, but remember that this is your journey. And you have to set your own benchmarks. Going back to the earlier example, a realistic goal could be losing 10 pounds.

Make Sure Your Goals are Relevant 

This tip goes hand in hand with the previous step. In order for a goal to be realistic, it also needs to be relevant. This is about being real. Just because it’s someone else’s goal doesn’t mean it should be yours. For instance, I have friends who really want to skydive. Guess what? That’s not me! I’m terrified of heights, and it’s not something I want to do. I have colleagues who are really interested in getting certified in certain cosmetic procedures.  That’s not me. And again, this goes back to our WHY. Why do you want to achieve this goal? 

This reminds me of WHY I started running a few years ago. It was really hard in the beginning because I have bad knees and asthma. But a few years ago I was walking with my teenage son. We were goofing around and starting chasing each other. I couldn’t catch my breath. I was like:

I’m in my 40s and I’m winded running half a block. Nope. That’s not going to work. I need to be able to run with my kids. And someday with my grandkids. 

That was my WHY. So when it is cold or rainy and it’s hard to get up I remember that moment when I was walking with my son. 

Why are you setting this goal? What happens when you don’t achieve it? Understanding the why helps you understand why it matters and keeps you motivated, especially during hard days. 

Set Deadline for Your Goals 

You need a target date to ensure you don’t get discouraged and stay on target. Losing 10 pounds or getting a degree “someday” isn’t the same as, “I will get this done in 6 months.” But timebound also have to be realistic, that’s why I don’t like these 30 days challenges. Set a deadline that is achievable and realistic for you. You can always adjust if you need more time. The important thing is to set that first deadline. 

Self-Forgiveness: The Missing Piece of Goal Setting

The key to staying motivated and committed to your goals is by setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals.  But the number one secret most people miss when they set these SMART goals is self-forgiveness. 

Because guess what you’re gonna mess up. 

You’re gonna be super-focused on studying hard or making your salad and then there’s that weekend when all your friends go out and you’re sooo in and poof you ate half of the world and didn’t study. This is the moment. This is the clutch moment when you decide to stay angry at and start saying, “F* it. I knew I couldn’t do it.” And you go right back to where you started or do you say, “I forgive myself. I just needed a little break.  Let’s get right back in the game on Monday.”

It’s not all or nothing! 

This is why things fail. It has to be the best effort, mess up, shake it off, best effort again. Rinse and repeat. 

The more forgiving you are of yourself for getting off track the better off you’ll be with sticking around long enough for it to finally become attainable because now you’re looking at it from a different perspective. 

Get Help From Experts 

Lastly, you don’t have to do it alone. There are tons of people who have been there and can give you the guidance that you need. If this sounds like an idea worth exploring further, but there’s too much going on in your life right now, let us know! We have experts available who can help create health plans tailored specifically towards what’s happening in your life so that everything.

Book a free call here:

Hi! I’m Dr. E, The NP with a PHD. Several years ago, my wife was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and the only options given to us were heavy duty medications.

We KNEW there had to be a better way. After a long search, we discovered functional medicine.

With functional medicine we found alternative ways we were able to manage her disease and get her back to feeling like her old self.

We discovered that this way of life not only helps people with various issues, including autoimmune, chronic issues and “I-don’t-feel-good-itis.”

Functional medicine drastically changed our lives and using it I developed The KNEW Method to help others who are suffering or not feeling optimal.

Let’s work together to get you to feeling like your old self again.

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