Identify values – Ask yourself some questions to get creative about what you want to accomplish and how you want to accomplish it.
Use the Miracle Question to help identify your values: If you woke up tomorrow and everything was exactly how you wanted it to be, what would that look like? How do you feel, look, behave? How do others respond to you?
Prioritize values – What is most important to you? For example, consider family, financial security, health, creativity, nice home, friends, travel, honesty, etc.
Identify goals – Use SMART goals (see below) that are consistent with your values, positively moving towards an ideal or value.
- For example, a goal to “walk for 30 minutes at a 20 minutes a mile pace on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6:30 a.m. for the next week” would be a positive time-bound goal that is achievable and consistent with the ideal of living a healthy active life. The goal of “losing weight” is moving away from an ideal (losing something rather than moving towards a healthy action) that is not time-bound and not specific making it a much harder goal to achieve.
- Why do you want to meet this goal? Specifically, why do you want to get fit, how long and how often do you need to exercise to reach this goal? What kind of exercise do you like? What types of exercises are you capable of safely doing right now? Specifically, when will you exercise? In what ways do you want to achieve your goal(s)?
Balance goals – Make sure you have a number of short-term (one week to one year), medium-term (one and five years), and long-term goals (five years or more). Shorter term goals can help you enjoy the present moment which can motivate you as you work towards the longer-term goals.
Devise a plan to reach your goals – After you have identified and balanced your SMART goals, determine what resources and steps you need to take to reach your goals.
- Ask yourself some additional questions: What do you need to do to ensure you are exercising safely? What kinds of resources (equipment, videos, gear, etc.) do you need to exercise safely? How will you motivate yourself to stay with your plan?
Watch your progress – Keep a log of your progress. If your goals are measurable, monitoring progress is easy.
Re-assess – Continue to revise your plan to combat procrastination and other deterrents. Don’t expect to accomplish everything all at once. Include fun things and reward yourself in healthy positive ways. Use context to prioritize and re-prioritize as you go. Remember to be flexible!
S – Specific: What exactly do you want to achieve?
M – Measurable: How can you track your progress?
A – Achievable: Is it actually attainable in the given time frame?
R – Realistic: Are you likely to do the work to achieve this?
T – Time-Based: When do you want to achieve this goal by?
It is also important to brainstorm how you’re going to deal with getting off track or what you will do if you are in the presence of something that will deter you from your goals.