Everyone makes anywhere from 2 - 2,000 decisions every single day. Some are minor and habitual (where to go, what to eat) while others can be life-changing (new commitments, quit smoking).
Contrary to procrastination beliefs, there isn't a right time to start doing something. For example, most of us dedicate New Year Eve to consolidate all our past experiences and try our best to churn out resolutions for the new year. And we would almost feel certain of our newfound dedication on New Year day and wake up the next morning struggling to keep to the new commitments. It is no surprise that our new beliefs flies out of the window once the festive mood dies down.
So the next time you set your heart to achieve something, here is the SMART thing to do.
S - Specific
M - Measurable
A - Achievable
R - Realistic
T - Time
1. Specificity is important to know exactly what you want to achieve. It is common and yet fatal to state an ambiguous goal (eg, I want to lose weight). This is doomed from the beginning as if there is no specific goal, then you probably wouldn't be happy losing 100 grams after a month of exercise. It is better to state your expected body weight at the end of the programme from the beginning.
2. Measuring your goal helps immensely as you can monitor your progress through and tweak your input accordingly. If losing weight is your objective, standing on the weighing scale daily could allow greater awareness of your weight fluctuations given a suitable diet & exercise regime. If saving money is your aim then make the effort to track your expenses and cut them to a minimum.
3. Achievable is a rather individualised concept. For some of us, losing weight can be a walk in the park while for others have to take many walks to notice the slightest change. Ask the person who knows you best - yourself ! Although you can seek professional help, but it boils down to personal beliefs and your willingness to make things happen. Professionals can guide you over the hurdle, but no one can give you the momentum to carry on.
4. Realism can come to you gradually or come in the form of a slap in the face. While it may be possible to lose 20 kg in 3 months, ask yourself about negative effects (loose skin, hair loss, failure of your parents to recognise you) that may not be readily apparent once your judgement is clouded with optimism.
5. Time yourself. Although time is an abstraction, don't allow your goal to be abstract. Give a deadline of when you are expecting to complete the goal and don't let procrastination to rob you of the possible benefits that you would gain.
Summing it up, a SMART goal is concise and precise. Don't shortchange yourself and start recognising the potential of goals today.
“What is right is often forgotten by what is convenient.” ― Bodie Thoene