How SMART are your goals really?

I recently read something that drastically shifted my thoughts about goalsetting and I thought that I'd write a quick blog post about it, as I feel that it's something that a lot of goalsetting posts/books/articles leave out.

The traditional practice of setting goals is to make them SMART:



The categories may differ slightly depending on what article you read or who's theory you are working from but the general practice of goalsetting doesn't differ too wildly.

You take a pen and some paper and work through the process above for each goal, working out exactly when and what you want to achieve.

Makes sense right? It nails down everything to a very specific achievable goal and a timeline as to when you want to achieve said goal.  

But it leaves out one very important piece of the puzzle. 

Have you guessed what it is?

Well I'll tell you.

It doesn't ask you why you want to achieve your goal.

The why is very important.  Because you need to consider whether it is an internal or an external driver.  

Let's take losing some weight as an example.  If you want to lose 5kg to look good in your togs on the beach next summer, that is a pretty SMART goal - specific in that there is a specific weight loss goal, measurable by simply standing on the scales, actionable in that by following the right eating/training plan it can be progressed, realistic in that it can be achieved with reasonable effort (given the right timeframe of when you start of course), and time-framed in that you want to get there by next summer.

But the why (looking good in your togs) is the vital piece of the puzzle.  Do you want to look good for yourself (feeling comfortable/feeling great)? Do you want to look good because someone else told you to lose weight?  

These are examples of internal (losing weight to feel good about yourself) and external (losing weight for someone else) drivers/motivation.

It is important to also know what drives you personally, some people are driven more by external drivers, and some by internal drivers.  So taking some time to sit back and think about which motivates you more is important too.

So when you set your goals for the year (if you haven't already) take some time to think abut why you want to achieve the things you are setting out to achieve.  It may make the difference to whether you get there or not.

If you would like some help working through your health and fitness goals then head over to my website at and book a time to sit down and have a chat.  I'd love to hear from you.


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