Monday, May 27, 2013

Values, Roles, and Goals, Part 3

In Part 2, we looked at how values can help to define the roles you play in life. Goals are the tools we use to help bring out roles into line with the things we consider to be important

Choosing a goal isn't that hard. Let's come back to the gym for a while. Your new trainer asks why you want to work with a Persona Trainer. You hadn't really tried to put it into words before...

"Well, you know... I work out because I want to get fit and lose weight."

My trainer friends tell me that 95% of new clients are going to present with some variation on this theme. "I'm weak and fat. I want to be strong and thin. "

Strong and thin is not a goal. It is a motivation. What makes a goal different? You've heard this before I'll bet. The best goals are SMART.
Specific: You can state your goal in one simple sentence.
Measurable: You have a number to tell you when you have reached it.
Attainable:  It is challenging, but realistically possible.
Relevant: You care about achieving it.
Timely: You have a deadline.
See why "I want to lose weight" isn't a goal? It isn't SMART. Here's a stab at something a little more useful...
I want to lose 15 pounds in the next three months so I can look fantastic at my high school reunion in October.
Or how about this one...
I want to be able to swim 400 yards so I can qualify for lifesaving class in March.
Here's a tricky one.
I want to be fit so I can be alive to play with my grandchildren.
Staying alive may be a value for you, but it isn't a goal. You can't measure it. Even worse, you can't actually achieve it. There will never be a point in time when you can look up and say, "Hey, I did it! I stayed alive," because you won't be finished, yet. You will always have farther to go.

Still, there's no question that there is a powerful value at the heart of your statement. How do you piick a goal that leads toward that value: playing with your grandkids? A SMART goal is not so much a destination as it is a milestone along the way. Once you reach it, it's time to pick a new milestone. Use your values as your compass. Then choose goals that lead you toward the things that are important to you. 
I want to be able to bend over and lift  a 50 pound child over my head by the time the kids come to visit in August.
Now you're talking. Keep it simple. Keep it clear. Keep it real. Make it matter. And make it urgent! That's the SMART way to set a goal. Here's mine for the summer.
I want to get below 20% body fat by October so I can knock 20 minutes off my time in the Iron Horse Half Marathon.
Now THAT's a goal. I know what I want, and I know how to tell when I've reached it. Does it matter to me? It makes my mouth water, just thinking about breaking two hours in the Half. Even more important, being stronger and faster will help me to work harder and stay alert longer when I work at the Y or at home. The things I learn will make be a better trainer and give me even more things to write about here. And my lower body fat percentage will improve my life in many ways beyond just lowering my time in the Half.

So how do I get there from here? That will take process. I'll have to do lots of research. Ask for advice. Make a plan and stick with it. But those are the "How?" questions. They're a lot easier to answer once you know what you want, and why you want it.


Eat clean. Run hard. Lift heavy. Sleep well.

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