The beginning of the new year is a time when many of us set ourselves a list of targets. Among this list many people include a series of goals relating to their health and fitness. These are worthy endeavours, but ones that can fall prey to the pitfalls of inadequate planning.
Most new year’s resolutions fail not because a lack of resolve, but because of an inadequately prepared recognition and reward strategy to support the path that must be taken to achieve the target.
The health and fitness targets we set ourselves depend very much on the problem we believe that we are trying to solve.
The most important thing is that we understand precisely what we are trying to do, so that we can break each target down into clearly defined steps that we can visualise ourselves reaching.
We may not be able to see all the steps required, which is why a review, reassessment and fresh step setting process should by part of the plan. The first steps should be realistic and easily achievable.
Our targets should always be SMART, that is: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Rewarding and Time limited.
Specific: We must make clear and unambiguous statements about what it is we are going to achieve.
Measurable: There must be some way to determine when the target has been met. We therefore make a statement that describes how we will measure success or failure of the objective.
Achievable: It must be possible to reach the target. It is important to understand in advance whether or not the target is achievable. It is important to remember, however, that many tasks when first approached seem insurmountable, so it is important to be optimistic and to take on a challenge.
Rewarding: The target should bring sufficient reward that it is worth undertaking. There is always a cost / benefit ratio to consider. It is always important to consider what the cost and benefit will be before initiating a task.
Time limited: There should be a clear time frame set out for when the objective will be met. Many things of worth are not achieved quickly and it is important to approach tasks consistently rather than sporadically. Breaking the task down into sub-tasks and estimating time frames is essential if we are to understand the cost of the task.
I have a plan for the new year. It builds on the successes of the years beforehand and takes valuable lessons from the failures of the past.
My smart steps are in place – are yours?