Sometimes goals feel less like an attainable accomplishment and more like a vague bucket list item. “I’d like to eat better.” “I want to go back to school.” “Italy would be a great vacation destination.” However, they don’t have to be. Using a SMART goal template, it’s easy to flesh out the nuances of a goal, and how to make sure you can complete it.
If you have something you want to achieve, it must be specific. Example: run a 5K in 6 weeks. The Goal must be Specific and clear: Run a 5K. You must be able to measure your progress. Get a training plan and log your runs. Attainable: Is this goal achievable? Relevant: Is it important to you? Time Bound: You must have a deadline.
Coach Alex takes us through her journey to get ready for competition. While reading, consider what parts of her goal align with each of the aspects of a SMART goal:
In the fall of 2019, I had been training for competition for almost a year. I had already lost about 10lbs just through vigorous and regular exercise, but it was time to think about weight classes and which was most appropriate for me. When it comes to boxing and weight classes, the general consensus is that the bigger you are, the harder you hit. It makes sense: more pounds means more muscles means more punching power. Because my body was capable of losing more weight while still maintaining muscle mass, in order to get into an even lower weight class, I still had to lose 12 pounds. Losing more weight would put me at a better competitive advantage, open up more opportunities for fights, and allow me to move quicker.
How could I make this happen? I had already lost a significant amount already, but had so much more to go. I wasn’t sure I could do it alone, so I got A LOT of nutritional guidance from my friend and teammate Gloria Wu, who has a Precision Nutrition certification.
Gloria completely transformed my eating habits. From pre workout to post workout to breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I was measuring carbs, fats, proteins, and vegetables. The goal was obvious: lose 12 pounds. Understanding how fast that could be achieved realistically, with the most lasting results (keeping it off and not letting it come back) was also surprisingly easy to figure out. Generally, a 1% loss in body weight per week is safe, so she decided that I should attempt to lose 1lb per week. Overall, this would take 12 weeks, or three months…..just in time for Thanksgiving.
The nice part about this goal was that it was composed of many little goals. If I could meet the 1lb goal each week for 12 weeks, I could reach my larger goal of a 12lb weight loss. Of course it was difficult to maintain healthy eating habits for that long; I was never going to be perfect, and that wasn’t the objective! The idea was to make changes in habits that would contribute toward my goal. Of course there were “slip-ups” where I’d have an emotional day and eat a crap ton of cheese, but I didn’t let those choices derail me or cause any type of internal distress.
Over the course of the 12 weeks, Gloria had me make tiny adjustments to help maintain losing weight. By the end of the period, I had met my goal! I had even discovered new types of foods and a love for cooking along the way. I was ready to fight at welterweight, and I had built life-long habits in the process.
Now that you’ve read and considered Coach Alex’s experience, take a look at how she defined each aspect of the SMART goal. Does it align with how you classified each portion?
Overall Goal: Lose 12 pounds to fight in welterweight class in 3 months.
Specific – She wants to lose 12 pounds.
Measurable– She can weigh herself every week to check progress.
Attainable – A 12lb weight loss is still healthy for her frame.
Relevant – She was trying to get down to the welterweight weight class for her first competition.
Time-Bound – She is trying to lose 12lbs in 12 weeks.
Consider your own goals. Is there something that you’ve been wanting to achieve, but haven’t been able to complete yet? Start thinking about what goal you want to tackle next. Be on the lookout for our next blog post that will challenge you to get started on that goal, and will help set you up for success.