Turning goals into reality…

Carrying on with our theme of goal setting, this week we look at how we turn our goals into reality.

To give ourselves the best chance of success we need a plan of how we get to our goal. Just as we need a map and a route to get us to our destination when we are driving our car, we need a map and a route to achieve our goals.  And we want to take the most direct route too, so it’s worth taking some time to make sure that the route we are devising is the best one, rather than just guessing and following our nose until we eventually get there.  If you don’t know how to get there – ask!!! There is always help available from people who will have achieved the same goals as you have (or something similar).  Within the Be Strong community there is a wealth of information and support available, so don’t go it alone!!

Turning Goals into Reality 18012021 from Be Strong on Vimeo.

To recap, we need to check our goals are SMARTSpecific – Measurable – Achievable – Realistic – Timebound.

Then from there we need to think a little deeper about what it is going to take to achieve it.  You will have already thought about this, hopefully, when constructing your SMART goal, but now we need to put some more flesh on the bones. We need to get SMART about our planning too!! Using the same acronym when we construct our plan, we should be able to tick off SMART for each stage of our plans too!

We have discussed in the last couple of weeks about having short, medium and long term plans, which are all linked.  All of our short term goals, should be moving us in the direction of our medium and long term goals.

Perfect planning!

 

To construct a really SMART plan, we need to know exactly where we are right now, and exactly what work needs to be done to get us to our short, medium and long term goals.

This will involve being 100% honest with ourselves and accepting some truths that we have perhaps ignored in the past. If our goal is weight loss related, we will most definitely have to accept some truths about how much we eat and drink and the types of food we eat and drink, because no-one becomes overweight by only eating 1000 calories a day! And we will have to accept the truths that we are going to have to eat less, and understand exactly how much we need to eat to be able to lose weight.

We need to get right down into the nitty gritty of our goal to devise our plan.  We need to know the date now, the date when our goal should be completed, how many weeks that is, what we need to achieve each week and what our progress will look like along the way, so that we can make sure we are putting the right amount of effort in at the right time.

Our plan needs to be relevant – make sure we are putting our eggs into the right basket.  If the goal is weight loss related – we 100% need to focus on calories in vs calories out, and getting a calorie deficit. The best way to get a calorie deficit is to reduce calorie intake.  Don’t believe us?… read this article to find out why you can’t outrun a bad diet.  If the goal is fitness related, then it is all about the training plan – and making the training relevant – there’s no point training for a running race, by going swimming!

Our plan also needs to have checks and balances in it – a way of holding ourselves accountable. Because only when we are accountable and make those checks and balances do we stay on track. Without it, one bad week turns into another and another, and before we know it – we have given up!

We need to consider what sacrifices we will have to make, because there will be some – goals don’t just achieve themselves – they take effort and hard work. But there will be things in your life that are uncompromising, so this needs to be factored in when coming up with your plan too, and the plan and goal adjusted accordingly.

We wouldn’t undertake a project at work without a proper plan, so why do we do it with something as important as our lifestyle and health<span class="su-quote-cite">Rick Wilson</span>

Examples of a SMART goals and plans

We are going to use an imaginary member, Susan.  Susan is 5ft3 and weighs 15 stone.  She wants to improve her fitness and also lose some weight. She is currently 5 stones overweight and does very little exercise, but has become inspired through lockdown to get fitter and healthier and reduce her BMI to a healthy range.

SHORT TERM GOAL – I will lose 1 stone by the end of April 2021

MEDIUM TERM GOAL – I will improve my fitness so that I can comfortably run 10k in around an hour by September 2021, then keep this up!

LONG TERM GOAL – I will lose 4 stones by December 2021 and run three times a week with a friend.

CHECK – Are these goals specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound? Yes! Great, lets crack on.

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SHORT TERM PLAN (18th Jan – 26th march)

Because Susan wants to improve both fitness and lose weight overall, we have included both exercise and calorie control in her plan.

Step 1 – I understand that to lose weight I must consume no more than 1900 calories a day.  This gets me into a calorie deficit which will allow me to lose 1-2lbs a week. I will eat good quality food that I enjoy.  I will know that I am sticking to my calories by checking labels and the calorie content of food and recording it in my meal tracker every day.

Step 2 – I will drink a pint of water with every meal, and one in between each meal occasion.  This will keep me hydrated, my cells functioning correctly, my metabolism firing and my tummy full.

Step 3 – I will weigh every week on a Friday and take part in the weekly one to one zoom session with Rick and Rach.  This will give me the accountability I need to stay focused. If I have a bad week I will not miss this. I will face the scales and chat it through with Rick and Rach.  This will help to get me back on track and not spiral out of control.

Step 4 – I will take part in a couch to 5k program – Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7pm, with Janet, using the Be Strong Couch to 5k program, for 9 weeks from Monday 25th January until Friday 26th March. 

Targets:

8th February – 3lbs off

1st March – 6lbs off

22nd March – 9lbs off

26th March – run continuously for 30 minutes

Once Susan reaches her short term goal, it is time to reset and write a new short term plan.  This process is then repeated until the long term goal is reached. So Susan will be using a series of short term goals and plans to get her to where she wants to be.

SHORT TERM PLAN 2 (26th March – 4th June)

Step 1– I will continue to consume no more than 1900 calories a day.  This gets me into a calorie deficit which will allow me to lose 1-2lbs a week. I will eat good quality food that I enjoy.  I will know that I am sticking to my calories by checking labels and the calorie content of food and recording it in my meal tracker every day.

Step 2 – I will drink a pint of water with every meal, and one in between each meal occasion.  This will keep me hydrated, my cells functioning correctly, my metabolism firing and my tummy full.

Step 3 – I will weigh every week on a Friday and take part in the weekly one to one zoom session with Rick and Rach.  This will give me the accountability I need to stay focused. If I have a bad week I will not miss this. I will face the scales and chat it through with Rick and Rach.  This will help to get me back on track and not spiral out of control.

Step 4 –  From 29th march I will start the 5k improver plan and do this every Monday, Wednesday and Friday with Janet at 7pm, until 4th June.  This will ensure that I am able to run 5k at a comfortable pace, and improve my time.

Targets:

12th April – 12lbs off

26th April – 14lbs/1 stone gone!!

21st May – 17lbs gone

4th June – run 5k comfortably in a faster time than at the start of the improver program

Then another Short term plan will be created, and so on and so on… Hopefully you can see the process of breaking it down into chunks makes things more manageable, and if Susan continues onwards in the right direction, she will hit her long term goal.

Blips!!

Blips are really important to discuss when we talk about planning. Because we will have them. We will have illness, injury, things happening in our lives that throw us a curve ball and knock us off track. This is life! So whilst we can’t necessarily plan for blips, we can prepare for them. And by that I mean we can prepare ourselves mentally for taking the knock and getting back on with things. It might mean that your goals are delayed for a week or two, or  our progress slows a little.  What is important is that we keep moving in the right direction. We keep striving for our goals.

This is when you need to ask for help and support. This is not when you quit.  This is when you reach out to friends and family, people within the Be Strong community and get advice and tips for getting back on track and resetting. We have all been there, because it’s real life, so never be afraid to be honest and say ‘I am struggling.’

This week!

Check your goals are SMART and get cracking with constructing a SMART plan to achieve those goals.   We would love to see your goals and plans and we also love to help you with writing them too, so if you need help – ask.

Use the checklist:

Is my goal SMART?

Is my plan SMART?

Does my plan have to ways to hold me accountable?

Have I set myself targets along the way?

Do I have checks and balances?

Add your goals and plans in the comments, create a forum post with them and update us on your progress as you go along.  We love to read about all of your journeys.

Next week we will look at staying on track, motivated and keeping perspective, to help us all to keep moving in the right direction.

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