To help you to focus on your goal, keep things interesting, and therefore improve your chances of succeeding, set yourself some Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely goals by following the S.M.A.R.T principle:
S- Ensure that you set yourself a focused goal which is direct and clear in your mind. You are less likely to deviate from your target if you have a clear view of what it is. Be SPECIFIC with your goal e.g. ‘I will aim to lose 1-2lb a week’ as opposed to ‘I aim to lose weight’.
M- By setting specific goals with a figure/ value attached to them i.e. lose 1-2lb fat a week, or gain 8lbs of muscle a year, you succeed at making your goal MEASURABLE. In order to maintain motivation and gauge success, you have to be able to measure what it is you’re trying to achieve.
A- Maybe you’ve had an unrealistic target set at work, or perhaps you’ve been over optimistic with the goal you’ve set yourself (don’t get me wrong, ambition is good). In either case you may have fallen short of the mark, resulting in disappointment and frustration! The fact is you often learn more from your short falls than you do your victories, but quite often…you needn’t have fallen short in the first place! An achievable target is one that allows you to take small, deliberate steps towards reaching it. An end goal should be made up of small, individual targets that pave the way to the end result. Be realistic…which leads nicely onto the next phase.
R- Be REALISTIC. A once ‘achievable’ target can easily be made unachievable through unrealistic targets or time frames. Again, it’s good to stretch yourself, but at the same time it’s good to feel the satisfaction that comes with reaching a target. Pushing the boundaries is a must in life, but remember that unrealistic projects only really set you up for a fall. A realistic goal is subjective meaning it depends on the individual, an example of a realistic goal for an overweight male might be to lose 1 inch from the waist and achieve an approx 3-5% drop in body fat. Conversely, a goal such as this may not be advisable nor realistic for a 70kg male that is already at 10% body fat!
T- An inappropriate time frame is one of the main reasons a goal becomes unachievable, so be realistic. Make sure the time frame you set is realistic and achievable, but above all of this, make sure you set some sort of time frame to aspire to…after all, a goal without a time frame is little more than a dream. By setting a realistic time frame, you inspire commitment and dedication, and encourage yourself to act in order to meet the goal in time!