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How Do I Make Goals This Year that Actually Work?
You’ve been told to make SMART goals to get healthy and lose weight. But most people keep making the same SMART goals year after year. SMART goals aren’t enough!
What Works to Finally Crush YOur Goals?
You need systems to make habits that will work for the long-term (not just goals). To make systems that will keep you going, they need to be the FRESHEST. Use the acronym FRESHEST to make sure your systems and habits have what it takes to get you to your goal.
F is for Forever
R is for Routine
E is for Enjoyable
S is for Small
H is for Helpful (to your roles in life)
E is for Experiment
S is for Someone (to be accountable to)
T is for Time-bomb (urgent)
You can reach your goals with a DIY FRESHEST system (see link below to get your FRESHEST checklist) or you can get help from me 1-on-1.
Whichever option you choose, you can finally reach your goals.
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SMART Goals Aren’t Enough
It's that time of year again when we're all starting to think about having a health and weight loss reset.
Let's make some goals!
Well, if you're like a lot of people, the goals that you're setting this year are the same ones as last year, and I think we've been led astray.
We've all been told that to make goals, we need to make SMART goals. You know, make them specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound.
But what I’ve found is that SMART goals aren’t enough.
SMART Goals Are Like The Great British Baking Show
So I like to tell people it's kind of like watching that awesome show, The Great British Baking Show. If you haven't seen it, go get yourself on Netflix. But, don’t do it when you’re hungry!
Anyway, they have this technical challenge where the contestants are given a recipe. It's from a different country. They've never seen it before. They can't even pronounce that cake, and they're told to bake it.
The problem is that they're just given some ingredients and a recipe that says bake a cake and frost it.
You can imagine the results are not that great, and that's kind of how it is with a SMART goal.
We're missing some ingredients. We're missing some steps.
So through my work as a weight loss and health habit coach, I've discovered that there's a little bit more, and I'm gonna let you in on the secrets.
Systems Are Where It’s At!
Yeah, we've been told, “Oh, don't do a resolution.” We all know that. We've been told, “Make a goal.” But, I'm going to tell you goals are not where it's at. Goals are not enough.
Yeah, goals give you the big picture, but they don’t tell you what to do to get there.
So instead, I want you to think of systems. Systems mean habits that you can repeat over and over again to get you the result you want.
So we're going to think about systems, not just goals. So if you are trying to get healthy or lose weight, you need a “Get Healthy, Lose Weight” system.
Systems Break Goals Down into Achievable Habits
Your goal is kinda like a big, big rock.
And you're going to take a sledge hammer and break that goal into pieces. These smaller rocks will be your habit systems.
You’re on one side of the stream and to get to your goal, you need to get to the other side of the stream. To get across the stream, you're going to take those pieces of your sledgehammered rock and you're going to use them as stepping stones.
Those are the pieces of your system to get you across to your goal. So you need those systems.
The Systems You Need to Crush It
What systems do you need?
With my clients, I use a Eat Better system, a Move More system, Optimize Recovery system, which is sleep and stress management. There's also a Retrain your Brain system, which is about your thoughts and your mindset. And then there's a Normalize Body system—if you're trying to prevent or deal with an already existing medical condition. Those are the habits that go there. You come up with the systems and then make habits within each system.
It Needs to Be the FRESHEST System
So what do you need to do with that system to make it work? In order for us to have a good system, it needs to be the FRESHEST.
We always need these acronyms to help us remember things. I know they can get kind of cheesy, but they do help. And especially for me who's in front of the camera, I need that help. So FRESHEST.
F is for Forever
F is for — forever. That system needs to be forever. If you want to keep getting the results over and over again— if you want to stay at a weight or stay healthy— you can't just do it once. You’ve got to think long term. So this system needs to be something you can do forever.
R is for Routine
What about that R? Well, the R is going to be routine. It needs to be something that can be a habit. Something you plan out. You practice it over and over again. It's on habit mode. No willpower needed.
E is for Enjoyable
Let's go on to E. Here's something that you probably have never thought about. It (the habit) needs to be enjoyable.
I remember all those old SMART goals I used to make. They were “eat 1500 calories” and “exercise for an hour a day.” None of that's enjoyable. In order for you to keep something up, there's got to be some aspects that you enjoy— that feel good. So you’ve got to focus on that.
S is for Small
Now the S is going to be for small. Oh, most of us want to “go big or go home.” But when it comes to starting out with goals, you need to make them small. In fact, smaller than you think you need them to be. But here's the thing, if you want to be successful, you need to have some success. Because that success is going to throw you forward into more motivation and more goals, and it becomes a great cycle. So make sure they are small.
H is for Helpful
What about H? H is for helpful. That means it's got to be tied into something that's really, really important to you. It's helpful to you in your roles in life—like a mom, an employee, and a spouse. So you can't just say, “I want to lose 20 pounds.” It's got to mean something for you. So if it's going to help you have energy to take care of your kids, or if it's going to help you have the stamina to get through your day as an employee, those are the “helpful” things that you need to make sure you're thinking about when it comes to setting up that system.
E is for Experiment
All right, so now we're on to another E for that FRESHEST system. E—This time it’s going to be experiment. You are not going to get it right the first time, so don't get mad at yourself. You're going to plan it out. You're going to have a backup plan—because things aren't always gonna go the right way. You're going to try it. Some things are going to go well, some aren’t. You're going to tweak it. And you're going to do that again. So make sure you have compassion on yourself. It's not going to be right the first time— and that's okay. That's how it works.
S is for Someone (to Be Accountable to)
The last S is going to be someone. I know this is a stretch. What I mean here is that you need “Someone that you can be accountable to.” Oh, sometimes it's just so hard to follow through unless we have some accountability. So a friend, a neighbor, a coach—that is going to help you to get those results that have been hard to get.
T is for Time-bomb
So the last letter is T. T stands for time-bomb. Yes—like a ticking bomb that's going to go off if you don't reach that goal. It needs to be urgent. You know, like an upcoming high school reunion or a doctor's appointment where your doctor's going to say, “Yeah, you need to go on medication.” That's when my clients really make big changes and get it done no matter what happens.
Sometimes you need a little help manufacturing a little bit of urgency or a little bit of “time-bomb”. But if you can get that going for you, there is nothing stopping you.
What to Do Next
Want to DIY your FRESHEST System?
If you need a little help with your FRESHEST system to getting healthy and losing weight, you can check out my video/ blog post next week. I’ll help you by going through an example of a FRESHEST system together. You’ll also be able to download your own FRESHEST Checklist to help you make the systems that get you to your goal.
Want Real Results Now?
If you’re done with DIY and want to reach your goals this year once-and-for-all, here’s what you should do:
We’ll map out your customized habit plan together.
Then, we’ll get started--finally succeeding one habit at a time.
With the Real Healthy Habits Jumpstart Program, your definition of weight loss success can finally be a reality.
Until next time,
I'm a dietitian, personal trainer, and health coach who started asking all the tough health and weight loss questions-- like how do we get more willpower, why can’t we stay motivated, and why is getting healthy and losing weight so tough?
I discovered that the answer to all these questions is simply--Your Brain.
I help frustrated people end their health and weight loss struggles by understanding their brain and then working with it—instead of against it. Then, I teach them how to put their personalized health habits on autopilot for results that last.
You deserve the health and energy you need to live your best life.