SMART goals

Update on my weekly goals

Time to give an update on my goals for the past week, and my plans for the week ahead.

Looking Back Last week I had 3 major goals; to take 50,000 steps, climb 60 floors and get to the gym at least once. Here is how I did on each:

Walking

As I am sitting here writing I am at 49,005 steps, or 98% of my goal. This was a 7 day goal stretching from Monday to Sunday, so the walking  I do today will put me well over the top. At work I averaged between 7,500 and 8,000 steps. What made the difference was the walking I did outside of work, which I also tracked this week.

Stair Climbing

By applying the ideas I have on how to get more exercise at work, I achieved most of this goal within my work days. I managed to climb an average of 12 flights of stairs each day at work. As of this morning I am at 79 flights, or 132% of the goal.

Going to the gym

On this one I far exceeded my goal. I wanted to make sure that I made one trip to the fitness center which included actually getting out of the car. That first trip happened on Tuesday night. I came home from work tired, and wanting a nap. I have partially packed my gym bag the night before, so I grabbed the few things remaining and headed over. I was a bit anxious about it between my fear of being watched, and of incurring pain in my joints. But I did a solid 45 minute workout.

On Wednesday when I got home from work I headed over again, and put in another 50 minute workout. MY anxiety level was far lower, and I was able to get into the groove. The workout playlist I assembled after dinner on Tuesday certainly helped keep me motivated.

As the end of the week approached, I asked my wife if she wanted to get up on Saturday morning and join me in a trip to the gym. There is a water aerobics class taught at 8:00am which she enjoys, so she was game. We both rose, grabbed our gear, and went for a great workout. I felt energized the rest of the day!

Looking ahead

For the week ahead I will keep the walking and stair climbing goals at the same level. I don’t want to raise them and put artificial pressure on myself while at work. I want to sustain this level for a few weeks and see how it matters in terms of how winded I am  when completing the laps.

I am going to set 135 minutes of workout time as my goal for the week. That represents 3 trips of 45 minutes each to the gym. I plan to accomplish this with two evening trips and either a Saturday or Sunday morning workout depending on my schedule

This week I am adding a new component, testing my blood sugar. When I went to my doctor 3 weeks ago she asked me to start testing my blood again. I have put this off in part because I don’t have test strips for my machine, but also because I wanted to gain some momentum on this journey before I added in those tests. This week the goal is to get the strips and test my blood after two meals on 4 days. I am not setting a goal about the readings until I get a baseline.

My thoughts

Holding myself accountable for the actions and goals has been a help. Without my fitbit to remind me what I have accomplished so far within the day, it would be easy to forget or ignore the goals. With regards to gym trips, I would have been tempted to put it off until the last minute, but I knew that I wanted to exceed the goal. I am finding the setting of SMART goals to be a key to keeping me on the path!

Report on last week’s SMART goals, and setting them for this week

Last week I added the concept of setting SMART goals to my routine for becoming more healthy. I decided to do this to feed my habit of self-measurement, and also to make sure that I was doing positive things in my life that were beyond just eating less. Today I am giving an update on last week’s goals, and setting new ones for this week.

Looking Back

For the work week of March 10 to March 14, I set 3 SMART goals. Here they are repeated, with my results and comments:

Climb 42 flights of stairs while away from home. For this I used my Fitbit to keep track of my stair climbing. At work, my team room is on the second floor, that means that absent of any special effort (except skipping the elevator), I would rack up 10 to 15 flights. My goal was to increase by 50% the number of floors I had climbed the week before.

At the end of the work week my total was 46 floors climbed, which was 110% of my goal. I accomplished it by incorporating a few extra trips up and down the stairs into my walking routine during morning, lunchtime, and afternoon breaks. I had one day when I was away from the office, or my total would have been greater.

As the week went on I was a little more able to do the climbing. I never experienced any muscle soreness to note, but later in the week I was slightly less winded than earlier in the week. This is a long process and I don’t expect immediate results, but over time I should get less winded, and go up the stairs faster than I did at the start.

Walk 35,000 steps while away from home. Again for this measurement I used the fitbit. I started out the week with a strong 8,996 steps, and I ended with 8,164. On Tuesday through Thursday I averaged less due to a combination of being away from the office, and a busy meeting schedule. Still, for the week I walked 35,920 steps, or 103% of my goal

On Friday I knew that I needed some extra steps to make it over the top, so I took 30 minutes at the end of lunch and did 3 laps inside my building (each lap in the building is .5 miles). At the end I felt very energized and finished my work day with a flurry of activity.

One thing I noticed from both of these two goals was that I was more productive on the days when I walked more. Taking the extra 15 or 30 minutes per day away from my desk ended up being a benefit to my work day, as well as my health. About half of the time when I was walking I was alone. That gave me time to think about some of the items on my desk, so when I got back I handled them more quickly. The rest of the time I walked with co-workers and used the walk as a complete break from work. On those trips I walked somewhat slower so I could maintain conversation, but the net benefit was still the same.

Buy a pair of Cross Trainer shoes. On Monday after work, I went and bought myself this pair of Sketchers Sport shoes with memory foam.

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My intent is to use these exclusively at the gym, and not when I am out and about. My thinking is that having shoes specifically for use when working out will encourage me further to make good use of them.

Looking ahead

For this week I am setting the goals to be over a 6 day period, Monday through Saturday. Here they are for this week:

Walk 50,000 steps. This is an increase from last week of about 14,000 steps. It would be a stretch to complete it only at work, so I will have to supplement with walking I do around the neighborhood or otherwise.

Climb 60 floors. This one I plan to mostly accomplish at work with my walking there. On Monday and Tuesday of last week I climbed 12 floors on each day. There is no reason I can’t do that all 5 days at work this week.

Make a trip to the gym. I was joking with my wife and a friend about this one. I told them that I was going to have as a goal for this week to make at least one trip to the gym. Then next week I was going to set a goal to get out of the car and go inside!

I have made a lot of excuses about going to the gym in the past. It might hurt. I might see someone I know. It is hard to find time. It is hard to get a good locker. And on and on. The truth is they were all just that, excuses. If I am really determined to be a better me, then it shouldn’t matter who sees me, or which locker I use. And if it hurts the first few times, I know it will hurt less in the future if I stick to it.

So, there you have it, my progress from last week’s goals, and my new goals for this week.

Setting SMART goals to be a healthier me!

When I launched this blog, I had an outpouring of helpful hints from friends and family, and even from strangers who read my posts on WordPress. I am humbled by, and thankful for all of the suggestions. I see them as support for what I am doing, and people trying to be truly helpful.

To be sure, I cannot follow all of the advice. Everyone has their own approach to weight loss and increasing health. While I appreciate all suggestions, some just won’t work for me for one reason or another. Some, though, hit the mark and work very well for me. One such is setting SMART objectives for myself each week.

My niece is a Nurse Practitioner who spends much of her time helping people to live healthier lives and make better decisions. When she read my initial posts, she contacted me through email and told me about a method she uses with her patients. Each week the patients set SMART goals for themselves, and track them on a form specially designed for this purpose. If you are not familiar with the idea of a SMART goal, it is an acronym for:

Specific – the goal should be concrete, not vague and something easily defined.
Measurable – the results of the goal should have an objective measurement, so that success can be easily assessed.
Achievable – Setting a goal that is out of reach sets a person up for failure. Setting and reaching achievable goals helps build a pattern of success
Relevant – The goal has to mean something. Setting a goal that is too low, or meaningless does nothing to move a person forward. Reaching the goal should matter in some way
Time bound – A goal that is allowed to languish with no defined end is rarely reached. Putting a timeframe around it forces action and accountability.

If you are a reader of my other blog – Just some thoughts I have… then you know that I am a very goal-oriented person. I thrive in my personal and professional life when I have a defined goal to achieve. Because of that mindset, the idea of setting weekly, SMART goals appeals to me.

Starting this week I am going to be setting goals for the coming week. I plan to make them something that I can control, and they will be designed to either stretch something I have already achieved, or set me in a direction I haven’t previously gone. Also, I will use them to kick start me when I sense that I am stalling.

This week I have set 3 goals:

  1. Walk 35,000 steps while not at home. At work, or when I am out and about, I plan to walk 35,000 steps. I will measure this using the Fitbit. Last week I walked 22,800 steps, so this will represent a 50% increase.
  2. Climb 42 flights of stairs while at work. Again, I will measure this with the Fitbit. My office is on the second floor of my two-floor building. That means I am guaranteed to climb 10 in a week, assuming I eat in the first floor cafeteria. Last week I climbed a total of 28 floors, so again this is a 50% increase
  3. I will buy a pair of cross-trainer shoes. I want to have a pair of shoes to use in the gym that aren’t used out and about. This is a pre-cursor to future goals involving the use of my gym membership.

None of these 3 goals will set the world on fire, or solve any of my issues. But achieving them will help me gain some momentum on my health journey.

Check back next week! I will tell you how I did, and what my new goals are.