Measure It to Make It: How to Set Goals and Achieve Them
“Most people aim at nothing and hit it with amazing accuracy.” ― Brian Buffini, Real Estate Coach
Why Measure It in the First Place?
Jerry weighed 240 pounds in 2012, which is very obese for someone who is 5’4”. Throughout 2013, he tracked meals and exercises to stay on track. By the end of the year, he had lost 70 pounds to reach a final weight of 170 pounds. His waist shrank from 43 inches down to 34 inches. He measured it to make it happen and was at the best level of fitness since his Army service a decade before that.
Two things happened between 2013 and 2019. Jerry stopped measuring his progress and he never hardwired the habits that would keep him fit for life. He found himself back to 230 pounds and a 41-inch waist. The old Jerry was coming back. He drifted back.
There is Hope
At the time of writing this post, we are pleased to tell you that Jerry is back down to 200 pounds and a 37-inch waist. This is the result of four months of adopting a diet that has rules and go-to options he can enjoy. That’s one part of it. The other is that he has been tracking what he eats every meal, every day. He tracks his weight, waist and neck measurements every week. That’s after just four months!
Jerry is on track to get down to 160 pounds and a 33-inch waist by the end of 2019. His goal is to stay there, and he is going to measure it to make it. It is possible to reach his goal fitness level, and he will know when he gets there through the goal measurement.
How to Set Goals and Achieve Them
Beyond the Rut believes life is composed of five main domains or circles that all interconnect. They are your faith, fitness, family, finances, and growth for your future (personal and professional development.) When it comes to personal goal setting, here are four steps to achieving your goals in every area of your life.
Start with Why
Author and TED Speaker, Simon Sinek, wrote a book by the title Start with Why. He describes the concept of leaders sharing their vision with their teams telling them why the team is going in a certain direction. Many teams will take on the challenge because they understand why it is so important to do so. A cause greater than themselves has been cast.
In the Army, we would call this the “Commander’s Intent.” This was the intent behind the plan so that any changes that come up can be made with the intended outcome or purpose in perspective.
The same goes for when you want to achieve goals. You first need to have a strong “Why?” attached to it for those goals to have some motivation for you in the long-run.
Jerry’s “Why?” is that he wants to see the trajectory of his family (and be around to enjoy it) and help other families do the same. Travel blogger, Eric Giuliani, wanted more out of life than reading corporate scripts. Nick Murphy wanted the freedom to spend more time with his children and wife, so he made the transition to a lifestyle business.
What is your “Why?” What impact do you want to make on the world, and why is that important to you?
Attach Emotions to Your Goals
We respond to the world around us emotionally first then maybe rationally next. Your goals will have more drive behind them when you attach feelings to them. Some questions that help you do that are the following.
What is happening right now that needs to change?
What will happen if nothing changes in the next year, five years? What do you feel about that?
What will be different after you change things? What do you feel about that potential outcome?
With the End in Mind
It may be easy to jump right into a first step, or next step, but what will the point of that exercise be? What is the long-term course you wish to take?
Weight loss and sustained healthy living are the end results for Jerry right now. Knowing the end results, helps us measure it to make it because we have now established a finish line.
Having a 34-inch waist and weighing 160 pounds are two final measurements for Jerry. His diet, since he adopted a low-carb diet, also includes measurements of his “macros.” That is Jerry measures the percentage of his calories that come from carbohydrates (5%,) fats (75%,) and protein (20%.)
Break It Down in Reverse Order
Fitness is the easiest area to describe how this process works. We know the end goal for Jerry, and he is now able to break down how to measure his goals.
There are two main categories of measurements: activity and outcomes.
Activities measured daily for Jerry include:
- Food intake – calories, fats, proteins, and carbohydrates using MyFitnessPal
- Water intake – also tracked in MyFitnessPal
- Exercise activities – using a few different apps such as C25K, Fitbit and ultimately MyFitnessPal
Examples of goal measurement for outcomes on Jerry’s progress include the following, and these are measured weekly:
- Waist size
- Neck size
- Journal on emotions and reactions to the week
- Journal on what is working, and what is not working
Why is Goal Measurement So Important?
A commercial airliner is off-course approximately 60% of the time during its flight from Point A to Point B. Despite this fact, aircraft land where they intended and on-time nearly 100% of the time. That is the result of goal measurement.
Measuring it to make it is about keeping you on track towards your destination. If left to your own devices, you will drift off-course and remain stuck in your rut. Taking the time to measure where you started and the progress will give you valuable insight and motivation.
It may feel tedious at times. There is a temptation to feel discouraged if the data isn’t showing you what you want to see. Remember that the data will show you what you need to see, so you can make the real adjustments to land your plane where you want it to go.
Next, we’ll describe the S.M.A.R.T. Goal model and how you can use it to your advantage.
What’s So Smart About S.M.A.R.T. Goals?
Fun fact you probably didn’t care about is that the S.M.A.R.T. Goal model first appeared in 1981 in an issue of Management Review. It’s an acronym that helps us create effective goals that are clear and concise when done correctly.
Here is a breakdown of the acronym, and your goals should have each of these elements to be effective.
S – Specific
Think about the New Year’s Resolutions you’ve made in the past. They probably included goals like “lose weight,” “go back to school,” “get better sleep,” or “make more money.” What does that really mean? What actions are attached to that? Being specific means just that, getting clarity of what you intend to do in a sentence or two.
M – Measurable
You need measurable data to let you know you’ve arrived at your point of success. If going back to school, what is the measurable outcome? Is it a degree, is it just getting into school, landing a dream job, etc.? What are the daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly activities you will need to measure?
A – Achievable
Can you achieve this by taking action yourself? This is all about you, and what you can do to make your goal become a reality.
R – Realistic
It’s about making sure you have the clarity, measurement, and actions combined with a timeline that gives just the right amount of pressure without overwhelming you.
T – Time-bound
A goal without a deadline is just a daydream. When you begin with the end in mind, you are able to work backward to determine the milestones to get you there.
Example of a S.M.A.R.T. Goal
Let’s say you want to be debt-free by the end of three years. Here is an example of what a S.M.A.R.T. Goal would look like to help you achieve that.
I will be debt-free by [insert date here] using the Debt Snowball Method to pay off $25,000 in car loans and credit cards. Extra funds will come from cutting my monthly lunch dining expenses by $300 per month and earning $400 in extra income per month delivering pizzas.
- Specific – Paying off $25,000 in consumer debt
- Measurable – Outcome: $25,000 debt goes to $0; Activity: Paying off debt in sequence with extra $700 per month. You can measure it!
- Achievable – There seems to be a clear plan here.
- Realistic – Sure, if you’re willing to work a second job for three years and stay committed to the plan.
- Time-Bound – Three years
Ready to give it a shot? Download our FREE Goal Setting Tool and get started today.
Let us know in the comments what your goal is and come back to tell us your progress.