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On the Coast Magazine

Being S.M.A.R.T.

01/03/2017 11:44AM ● Published by Nancy Babin

“For most of us, though, the problem is not a lack of goals but rather too many of them.” 

― Roy F. Baumeister, Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength


Happy New Year!  How many resolutions have you set for yourself this year?  In last month’s column, I wrote about the “man-hours” materials and time that goes into the making of a single katana, a single goal with multiple steps that has great value and is commonly revered by those who know.  Compare what you have set for yourself this year with the quote above and the description of last month’s article.  


Do you have many resolutions or one or two?  Science has shown us the more goals we have, the less likely we are to achieve them.  We become overwhelmed at the prospect and lose focus and thus energy to complete what we set out to do.  What if we nailed our goals down to a couple specific things?  What would happen if we devoted our entire focus to these things and accomplished them?  What then?  Then we could set a couple more goals to “focus” on, that’s what.


Quite often this year brings goals of lose weight, get fit, stop this or stop that - usually ambiguous things without specifics.  Remember S.M.A.R.T. goals?  Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-oriented.  Let’s adjust a common goal using this method.  Rather than say you want to lose weight this year, do this:  I want to lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks and keep it off.  <HIT THE BRAKES>  If I were to decipher this it would mean:  I want to fit in my clothes better and look better when I go to the beach.  


The challenge with only going by the scale is that it leaves out your body composition.  In short, body composition is what your body is composed of, in this case, the separation of your fat weight (fat) from your lean body weight (bones, muscles, organs, water).  I was recently conversing with someone who lost inches and body fat but was not losing weight, and they were saying that was what they needed to do next.  In reality, focusing on “losing” the body fat, not body weight, is what caused the reduction in inches, achieved by weight training, thus adding muscle.


Here is the S.M.A.R.T. version:  

Specific~Lose 10 pounds of fat in 10 weeks.

Measurable~Weigh and test body fat before, during and after.

Attainable~Yes, with the understanding that it should be 1-2 pounds per week for best healthy results.

Realistic~Yes.

Time Oriented~ Yes, 10 weeks.


With a keen focus on losing 10 pounds of fat, you’ll focus on losing the fat weight, not just weight, meaning you’ll probably not be lead into fad diets for short term but rather fueling your body properly and increasing the right types of exercise, leading you to the results you desire.  Yes, one goal and a few elements to the action plan.  This is good and typically not too overwhelming.  If you have doubts about what to do or where to begin, seek professional advice from a qualified fitness trainer with a track record including safety and effectiveness and experience with different situations.


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