Tracking Goals & Staying On Course
In my recent article, The Why & How Of Wellness Goal-Setting, I had mentioned some foundational aspects of goal setting for defining smarter, sharper, and more relevant personal goals. Once the goals are delineated, the next step is to track the process and progress of staying on course and achieving these goals over a sensible period of time. In fact, the absence of a system and tracking mechanism can quickly lead to disillusionment or a casual approach, often spelling the end of one’s goals journey.
How can one steer better for successful goal achievement?
Adopting the S.M.A.R.T. approach yields multiple benefits.
- It helps lay down essential constituents
- Dynamic in nature
- Inbuilt method of course correction
- Provides the right mix of flexibility and stability
- Promotes adherence and success
S.M.A.R.T. is also the way to go with any/all phases of a journey/process, including Phase 1 of Goal-Setting.
“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” –Henry Ford
How To Be S.M.A.R.T?
By breaking a bigger goal down into smaller, manageable parts in terms of execution/performance and measurable deliverables along with pre-determined timelines.
Break down your bigger goal into smaller, more specific sub-goals. Each sub-goal should be targeted and aligned with the original, larger one. This process may need repetitive sieving at multiple levels. Once sub-goals are rationally extracted, action(s) can be initiated to achieve each, singularly and collectively. For example, controlling diabetes may require managing weight, managing diet, deciding appropriate exercise format, managing stress levels, etc. Each of these sub-goals can be further broken down into smaller units, and one can begin on these defined targets.
Break down bigger units into sub-goals such that they can be measured and kept track of. Metrics form the backbone of measuring the efficacy of measures and allow for course correction on time. In the example above, weight management can be mapped onto a timeline to divide total weight to be lost into weekly, fortnightly, monthly, yearly targets, etc. Diet charts can be prepared accordingly, and so can exercise schedules. Stress management can happen concomitantly with practices and interventions in a complimentary manner.
Larger goals should be split into practical, smaller ones factoring in how achievable these are. Setting too difficult or too easy sub-goals will affect not only achievability (in metrics) but also morale. As one progresses along the continuum, some goals will become relatively easier to attain over time, while one may experience plateaus/challenges in others. Starting an exercise program feels tougher initially. So, initial exercise targets need to be mindful of this. As the body adapts, the program will need dynamic tweaking. Similarly, with diet – some may find it tougher to implement food changes, to begin with, but as the body learns to adapt to different energy sources, changes can be accelerated to speed up the process.
The sub-goals, of course, have to be relevant to the bigger picture. Over time, not all initial sub-goals will remain relevant and newer ones may need to be targeted to achieve results and stay on course. For example, once weight loss has been achieved, weight loss goals will become less relevant, and weight maintenance goals will become more. So actions will shift accordingly.
As with the larger goal, each sub-goal should be assigned a practical timeline/deadline. There could be occasional deviations, but without this timeline, the process can run astray and become endless and ineffective. Time is an important metric to keep track of in all stages of goal achievement. Not only does it determine the design of action plans, but it is also a measure of relevance and efficacy of effort, tools, and methods implemented to achieve smaller and larger targets.
All this also helps in staying in tune with one’s self and deeper motives along the journey, making achieving goals more effective, enjoyable, and meaningful. So why not be S.M.A.R.T. about it?
About Vani Pahwa
Vani B. Pahwa is Health & Wellness Evangelist, and Founder, Body In Motion, who specializes in Functional-Fitness, and Cancer Exercise & Rehabilitation. With almost 2 decades of experience, and certifications from leading internationally-accredited and globally-recognized fitness institutions, Vani is the leading Wellness Expert for Multinational Corporations and is a recognized Speaker and Coach. An Indian Classical Dancer, Vani encompasses her learnings from dance to everyday movement making “exercise and training for life, not just events.” To know more about Vani and her premium wellness services, visit https://www.bodyinmotion.in