What are your goals? We often hear that question, think about it for awhile, and then plan to think about it later as we carry on with our busy lives. It seems like one of those questions that we are always asked, but don’t give enough thought to. We know that in order to accomplish something we need to have a clear outline or blueprint. We need to figure out what we are trying to accomplish, the equipment that will be involved, the time required, and ultimately the smoothest way to get there. This is something we all do each and every day as we wake up to a brand new adventure. So we all have the ability to develop a solid goal, but at the end of the day we sometimes fail in planning.
Sometimes the goals we set for ourselves are too high, too numerous, or simply unrealistic.
Don’t get me wrong, goals are a fantastic thing to shoot for, but sometimes they backfire and can harm our health. Trying to be your leanest and strongest at the same time sounds fantastic, but it may not be possible. Wanting to shoot up the corporate ladder while following the principles of quality sleep and stress reduction, may not be possible. Shooting for a flat stomach and 9 solid hours of sleep a week after giving birth, good luck. We need to be honest with ourselves and our abilities. That’s not to say that dreams aren’t possible, but if we shoot for the stars it’s perfectly okay if we hit the clouds.
There is a goal setting strategy that helps with this.
You may have heard of setting smart goals in the past, but have you heard of the SMART acronym? It was originally created for writing management goals. It has been revised over the years for personal goal setting to include:
S= Specific: what is it that you are trying to accomplish?
M= Measurable: how are you going to measure your progress? Have an objective number or endpoint in mind.
A= Achievable/Attainable: how can it be accomplished and how do you need to develop as a person to reach the goal?
R= Realistic = are you willing and able to make it happen?
T= Timely= when do you expect to reach your goal?
As an example, your goal could be transformed from “I want to get more sleep” to “I will get at least 8 hours of sleep per night this month by disconnecting from electronics at least 1 hour before bedtime and getting to bed by 10 PM.” Evaluate what your goals are and see if you can make it fit into this formula.
Sometimes we just need to change from having goals to a single goal.
We all think we are superhuman. Being a great parent, sister, brother, employee, student, athlete, CrossFitter, and so on is a big accomplishment on its own. We then expect to perfect other areas of our life. Maybe we want to lift heavier, drop weight, spend lots of time with friends, be a Paleo saint, volunteer, blog, write a book, get an additional certification, or read anything and everything about nutrition, fitness, and wellness. Maybe you are trying to do a handful of these things right now. I’d encourage you to be honest about what you are trying to do. Focus on the things that matter to you at the end of the day. Give yourself a break and honor your accomplishments.
I think focusing on what is important is easily forgotten. In the Paleo community we tend to be overachievers. Some of us eat up new information and immediate do a 180 turn on what we were doing. We may try to learn everything we possibly can in a matter of days, make a huge life change, try to figure out how to make bone broth, and ponder about how we will ever be able to tolerate organ meats. You may become frustrated when you cannot make all of these changes at once and feel defeated. Change is hard! As we all know, stress can break even the best diet, so give yourself credit for making the changes that you can. This may not be the time to add a new goal to your routine.
On the other hand, maybe you have been living the Paleo lifestyle for quite some time. You are now looking at mastering your exercise goals. Problem is, you are shooting for not only strength gains at the gym, but also a lean physique, a booming social life, and are struggling to have a healthy relationship with your significant other. If you can manage all of these things effectively, bless you heart. It’s just not always possible.
So what should one do?
Pick what matters the most. Maybe now is not the time to be taxing yourself at the gym because your social relationships and sleep matter more. Maybe you need to get out of the relationship or get counseling because your fitness goals matter more. Maybe you just need to become satisfied with the progress that you’ve made while dealing with all of those barriers. Unfortunately, relationships and physical health sometimes butt heads. Pick positive company that are supportive of your goals. We can’t always have our Paleo cake and eat it too. Stop what you are doing. Analyze who you are, where you’re at, and where you want to be.
#1: Figure out what you want in life.
#2: Figure out what is holding you back. Change it or change your attitude about it.
#3: Focus on the goal that matters the most.
Bottom line: You’re not going to successfully move forward with your goal if you’ve got a sled filled with heavy goals holding you back. Pick what is most important to you and run with it.