A Step by Step Guide to Goal-Setting
What effect does goal-setting have? Is it worthwhile? In a 2017 meta-analysis in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology researchers stated, “The findings reported in the present review show that goal setting is an effective behavior change technique that can be considered a fundamental component of successful behavior change interventions” (Epton, Currie, & Armitage, 2017).
Have you chosen a goal for the new year? Is it actionable and measurable? How will you know that you’ve achieved it? Use this method to refine your goals and to put you on the path to success– SMART.
You need to be clear and concise about what it is that you want.
An example of a specific goal might look like this: I will lose 10 lbs in two months by starting an exercise and nutrition program. A non-specific goal is: I will lose weight.
A goal needs to be quantifiable. How will you know that you are making progress? Weight loss is easy to track because you can use a scale. For strength you can set a baseline with a 1 rep max on the bench or squat. Whatever your goal, just make sure that you are using a valid and reliable assessment.
Is the goal that you have set something that is achievable and safe? For example, losing 10 lbs in two weeks might be possible, but is it safe and reasonable? Choose a goal that you can stick to without making huge sacrifices.
Seeing a personal trainer for two months and expecting to lose 10 lbs is more attainable.
Your goal should be relevant to your desires. Maybe you want to lose weight to look better for a cruise that you are going on. If so, then losing weight is a relevant goal for you. If you want to increase your strength and muscle mass for football season, then your specific goal would look different than losing 10 lbs in two months.
Your goal should have a deadline. Setting a deadline early on encourages you to start and stick to a plan. If you find that the deadline is too strict, then modify it if possible or redefine your definition of success and failure within the parameters you have set.
Epton, T., Currie, S., & Armitage, C. J. (2017). Unique effects of setting goals on behavior change: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 85(12), 1182–1198. https://doi.org/10.1037/ccp0000260