Monday, March 1, 2010

New Month = time for a New Goal

So what's your goal for March? Good goals are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant & Timely. "Lose weight" is always a bad goal because it's NOT Specific, Achievable, Relevant or Timely. Some examples of good goals are frequencies and aptitudes.

Frequencies are things like: run 3x/week or live the SWEET Life 5x/week. They give a Specific, Measurable number of times and that number of times should be Achievable (otherwise, you need to set it lower). Just make sure the goal is also Relevant and Timely.

Aptitudes are things like: be able to run a 5k or be able to wear my skinny jeans comfortably. I sometime call them BAT goals because they refer to something you will Be Able To do by the end of the month. Because they are aptitudes, they are necessarily Specific and Measurable. Again, you have to make sure to set an Achievable goal that is Relevant to you and Timely.

My goal for February was to start my 1/2 marathon training habit. As a frequency goal, it's Specific and Measurable (30-minute runs Mondays & Wednesdays, an easy walk Thursdays, & a longer run on weekends). Since I'm registered for the See Jane Run 1/2 Marathon in June, my goal is Relevant, and the training program I'm using had me start 17 weeks ahead of time (Feb. 9), so my goal to start training is Timely. After 3 weeks I can say I "started" but it's not a "habit." I have to force myself to do it most of the time. I've run 1-2x/week; I've walked a couple times, and I've done a longer run every weekend. It took a week or two to work out the kinks in how the training schedule would fit into my own schedule in order to make it Achievable. That's always an issue with setting a goal: how to make the time needed to accomplish the goal, fit into your already-busy schedule. For March, of course, I'll need to continue my training.

After a weekend of over-eating and drinking on President's Day weekend, which followed 2 months of holiday over-eating and drinking, I set a longer-term SMART goal of fitting back into my clothes again. As an aptitude goal, it's Specific & Measurable: Do my clothes fit comfortably? Considering I gained the weight in 2 months, I should be able to Achieve my goal of losing the weight in 2 months. It's Relevant and Timely because I want the clothes I own to fit and now they don't. So, for the past 2 weeks, I've been tracking my calories on Lose It! and tracking how well I live the SWEET Life. Hmm, accountability always seems to work! Studies show that the more accurately people track their calories, the more weight they lose. I figured out a way to get around two obstacles of the Lose It! application. I try really hard to stay under the program's calorie intake because (1) it gives a bright red line for eating even one calorie more than the specified calorie intake! Then, at the end of the day, when I've eaten more calories than it says I should have, I add in my exercise for the day, which almost always takes me down below the specified calorie line because (2) it subtracts calories burned in exercise. After 2 weeks, my clothes fit better, but not great yet. My long-term goal date is April 5, the day we leave for Hawaii.

So the results of my February goals are:
  • I'm not as tired during the day as I used to be.
  • My clothes fit more comfortably
  • I see the beach more often by running along it.
  • I'm enjoying endurance cardio (running), which is different from the exercise I usually do.
  • My body's adjusted to eating smaller meals & feels more comfortable with it.
  • I have a better understanding of how many calories are in the foods I eat.
 Now, for March . . . What's your SMART goal?

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