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Get Smart With Your Goals

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Ethan Quant

Health coach Ethan Quant, of Elite Wellness Solutions, has succeeded in his weight loss journey and now wants to share his methods with the Bahamas in an effort to foster a culture of wellness and conquer the obesity epidemic.

I can still remember the exact moment on that very day back in April 2011 when I looked at a photo of myself in not-so-great shape and realised that something needed to change. At the time, I knew I wanted to transform my body, but I had no idea where to begin. All I knew was that I wanted a six-pack. If I could go back in time, I would teach myself how to set SMART goals. This structured approach for goal-setting would have greatly benefitted my journey toward transforming my body.

What is a SMART goal you ask? SMART is an acronym for “Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound”. Here is a further breakdown:

• Specific – Your goal should clearly state what it is that you want to accomplish. Think who, what, where, which, and why.

• Measurable – Your goal should be broken down into measurable elements, so that you can track your progress, or lack thereof. Ask yourself, how are you going to determine whether or not you have met your goal?

• Attainable – Your goal should be realistic. In other words, you goal should be something well within your ability to achieve.

• Relevant – Your goal should align with your own values and beliefs. Simply put, your goal should be relevant to you.

• Time-Bound – Your goal should have a deadline. Giving your goal a deadline will create a sense of urgency for what you are working toward.

Now, let me give you three examples to give you better idea of how to formulate your own SMART goals. We will assume that each example is to be achieved within a timeframe of three months:

Example 1: When I speak with clients about their goals, one I often hear is, “I want to lose weight.” This is a good starting point, but it is not a SMART goal. To make this a SMART goal, we have to dig a bit deeper. First, set a specific amount of weight you want to lose, but make sure the number is realistic.

For instance, the average person can safely and healthily lose between two to five pounds a week, and that’s with a structured nutrition and training programme. Therefore, depending on your current situation, you may set a target of one to two pounds a week. If you set to lose one pound a week, your goal would be to lose 12 pounds within three months. That is a realistic, non-aggressive goal that can be achieved with small changes to your lifestyle. “Where do I begin?...”, you ask? First, you set a baseline measurement by weighing yourself, so you know exactly where you started. Once that’s done, your general goal of “I want to lose weight” has been transformed to a SMART goal of “over the next three months, I want to lose 12 pounds.”

Example 2: Another one I often hear is, “My goal is to eat healthier.” This is a great place to start, but let’s make it a SMART goal. We already have the timeline in place – 3 months. Now, we need to make this goal specific. When we say “eat healthier”, what does that mean? Does it mean we want to eat less fast food, or eat more fruits and vegetables? Let’s say you decide your goal is that you want to eat more vegetables. We can turn this into a SMART goal by saying that we want to eat three meals that include vegetables every week. In order to achieve this goal, we must first identify exactly how many meals which include vegetables are eaten each week. This is what we use as a baseline. For instance, if no meals are eaten with vegetables, then we can look at starting with one meal with vegetables a week. Over time, we can gradually increase that number, until we hit a target of three meals with vegetables a week.

Example 3: Now let’s say your goal is “to get more fit” – another one that I hear very often. We will use the same concept as we did in the previous examples. What do we mean by “more fit”? For some, it could mean “I want to walk up a flight of stairs without getting winded”, or “I want to run a 10-minute mile”. If it were the latter, our SMART fitness goal would be “over the next three months I want to be able to run a 10-minute mile”. So, what is the first thing we do? We need to determine how long it takes us to run a mile currently. Then, we need to track and monitor our progress over the following weeks to see how we are improving towards our goal.

The key to all of these examples, or any SMART goals you may set, is to stay consistent. You must progressively and actively work towards achieving your goals. Always remember, if you need help navigating through any part of this process, do not hesitate to seek out your friendly neighbourhood health and lifestyle coach (me). I want to help you! #Letsgetit

• If you need help navigating any part of your health, wellness and fitness process, you can contact Ethan Quant at ethan@elite-wellnesssolutions.com or on Instagram at @ethanquant.

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