Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.
Now, I want to take a moment and discuss how goal-setting relates to activity trackers. Do you have a Fitbit, Jawbone UP, Misfit Shine, or anything similar? Does it tell you that you have to walk 10,000 steps to reach your goal today? Based on everything we learned about setting effective goals, does that seem like a quality goal you should be setting? For the sake of this post, keep in mind the example we came up with the other day.
We have our outcome goal, which is the destination:
Outcome: I will run the local 5k on January 1st in under 30 minutes.
And we have process goals, which provide us the road map of how to get there.
Process: I will limit my junk food consumption to once a week on Saturday evenings.
I will eat more calories than my daily expenditure to aid recovery and training.
SMARTS Goals and Activity Trackers
Set your own goals. If you have something you really want to achieve, make it a goal. Right now, think of something you’d like to work towards. It could be today, next week, or in a year. Something that you’re willing to dedicate the time and effort necessary to achieve. I am willing to bet your goal isn’t “I want to walk 10,000 steps today.”
How Can They Be Better?
That is, let YOU pick the goal. Have to charge your activity tracker before putting it on? As part of the pairing process, ask the user! “What is your goal?” While most people don’t know how to set effective goals, an app would be more than capable of helping them form a quality goal, providing them feedback along the way. Do you have a goal weight you’re shooting for? A race you’re training for? Input your own goal, and you can own it. When you’re starting to struggle, or don’t want to get off the couch that day, you can use it to remind yourself of your goal. Allow the activity tracker to be a visual cue for you—every time you look at it, you will be reminder of your goal—not theirs. The best part is, when you achieve that goal, you can set another!
Remember, a goal without a plan won’t get you anywhere. If you want to continue to use the 10,000 step goal, create process goals to help you reach it. Plan to walk at certain times, and put yourself in a position to walk more whenever possible. Park further away when you drive to the store, or, better yet, just walk there! Walk during your lunch break once you’re done eating—it will help your digestion, and help you reach that goal. Create circumstances that will help you reach your goal, and you'll be surprised how much easier it is to get there.