Alice (in Wonderland) was told that if she doesn’t know where she is going, any road will take her there. Such a meaningful insight from a seemingly childish story. It basically means, if you don’t know your destination, you’ll never reach there! I can’t stress enough on how important it is to first set a goal in any sphere of life.
It’s also not enough just to set a goal initially. It has to be written down and, if possible, shared with someone to ensure serious commitment. There’s a famous saying, “A goal which is not written down, is only a dream!”
There has been tonnes of research that prove that goal setting increases motivation and also improves achievement. For that to happen, the goal should be S.M.A.R.T.: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound
Specific: A general goal would be “Get in shape”. Specific goal would be “Workout for 3 days in a week”.
Measurable: It is better to say, “I will lose 5 kgs in 2 months” than to say, “I want to lose weight”.
Attainable: You might want to exercise for an hour every day, but your schedule probably only permits you one hour for 3 days a week. It’s better to set a goal of one hour for 3 days and meet it, rather than aiming at 7 days and missing it every week.
Realistic: You didn’t gain weight in one month, you can’t realistically lose it in a month.
Time-Bound: Set a deadline for everything, there should be a time-bound review of results.
Another important thing is to be constantly mindful of your goal and being kept reminded of it. A research was done on academically struggling students, half of them were taken through a series of specific goal setting activities along with detailed strategies on achieving those goals. After a 4-month period, students who successfully completed the goal setting activities achieved 30% improvement in academic scores compared to the control group.
So a simple exercise in fixing a goal and target for yourself can help you increase the possibility of success by 30%. There is no reason why you shouldn’t be doing this right away!
Write down your weight loss goal. Is it SMART?