Getting SMART with Cait

Hey guys! I’m Caitlin of Cait Plus Ate, and I’m so excited to be blogging for my fellow FitFluential Ambassador Katie while she hangs with her newly growing family. I want to talk to you all about something I learned about this semester during one of the core courses I’m taking that count toward my MBA, Leadership & Management. Yes, school CAN apply to real life!

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No, I swear it’s true!

One of the first chapters in my textbook brought up SMART goals. Making goals in itself is a smart idea but as many of you are probably aware, there’s more to their creation than just throwing out a desired achievement. SMART is an acronym that stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measureable
  • Achievable
  • Results-based
  • Time-specific

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Specific goals help us visualize exactly what we need to do to get to our desired end result. Prime example? The most common — and most unsuccessful — New Year’s resolution to “be healthier.” What does this even mean? Right off the bat, a general goal like that is set-up for most people to fail. Specific goals to GET to that healthier place can be “work out three times a week” or “replace one starchy side with a veggie side each day.” With these kinds of specific goals, a place is in place, and the goals themselves are almost giving instructions as to exactly what to do to achieve an end result.

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Measurable goals are essential because without the ability to measure progress, people have nothing to help them determine whether or not they’ve made any, and discouragement becomes easy to come by. That’s why the example goals I mentioned above would have a higher likelihood of working than the goal of “be healthier.” How do you measure that? You can’t really, unless you choose something arbitrary. It’s easy to measure how many days a week you worked out, or how many times you made the decision to sub a starchy side for a veggie side. Isn’t this already sounding easier?

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Fresh fish and mango salsa with asparagus — yummy and healthy!

Achievable are especially important when it comes to fitness. To see changes in your body you must change your routine and push your limits. This is a tested and true fact. However, setting unreasonable expectations (ie: signing up for a marathon when you have never run a 5k before) usually does not pan out too well. Either failure occurs or the goal is achieved, but at the cost of your physical (you could injure yourself) and/or mental (beating yourself up for not being able to run a long distance) health. Be realistic! Start with a 5k goal… then 10k… then work up to that half or full marathon goal. This can really be applied in any situation, not just fitness.

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Um, and be careful where you run!

Results-based goals are those for which you can look at your results (in the form of measurements) and based on what they are, determine whether or not the goal has been achieved. This ties back into the necessity of measurements. A goal of “doing well in school” is based on the results of, well, doing well in school. But to look at the results and declare that you did well, you must take into consideration the measurements you chose ahead of time — grades, teacher feedback, a combination, etc.

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Too bad ice coffee consumption is not a measure of success in school…

Time-specific is a characteristic that is EXTREMELY important. I would even argue that it is one of the most important — without a deadline, goals can linger for forever in what my boss would call “la-la land.” Re-organize your workspace when… next weekend? In two years? It’s pretty obvious that delays are imminent when an end-time is not set, so SET ONE! And again, don’t forget to make it achievable — but also, don’t be lazy! I know it won’t take you a year to clean out your garage.

There you have it my friends. Set your goals and be SMART about it. S-M-A-R-T!

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Adios, muchachos!

What’s the “SMARTest” goal you’ve ever set? How about the least SMART? What happened as a result? Leave your story in the comments!

Comments

  1. 1

    Great post, Cait! I remember learning about SMART my freshman year of high school!! I hadn’t paid much attention then, so it’s nice to have a refresher which is definitely more applicable to my life nowadays :)

  2. 4

    CaitPlusAte sent me! First stop over here, but wow, this is a fantastically designed blog. And an awesome post. Consider me subscribed.

  3. 7

    Love the guest post! What great tips.

  4. 9

    Great tips!One of tip I find most important in the pursuit of goals is measuring results ii is always key and so very motivating as well.. and drink buckets of iced coffee .. another big one! ;) xo

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