Not Just SMART Goals - SoSMART Goals!
Just 11 days into the Runner's World 40 Days of Awesome Running Challenge, and it finally dawned on me that the success and popularity of this challenge can be attributed, in part, to the fact that it's designed as a SMART goal. I'll explain.
Here's the description of the challenge from RW:
"The run streak is designed to keep you running through the busy holiday season, and to bridge the gap between fall races and training for the spring. It can be difficult this time of the year to keep your running on track—but it’s much easier if you have a goal.
The goal is simple: Run at least one mile per day, every day, starting on Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 23) and ending on New Year's Day (Monday, January 1). That’s 40 consecutive days of running."
And here's the definition for SMART goals: To be SMART, a goal should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time Bound.
Let's bring these together:
- S = Specific. Run 1 mile every day
- M = Measurable. It's pretty easy these days to measure out a mile: clock it with a car, use a running app, or just use a step counter (2000 steps = about 1 mile).
- A = Achievable. The RW FAQ recommends that participants to be "reasonably fit," that they should have been "running on a regular basis for at least six months," and to ask a doctor if you have any doubts. With these as a baseline, 1 mile a day is achievable.
- R = Relevant. Their description says it all: it's tough to keep active and motivated throughout the holidays. This challenge keeps us from falling into the trap of chucking out all our good work and "starting fresh" in the new year.
- T = Time Bound. Daily. 40 Days. Easy to check off. Streakers call it "one and done."
From SMART to SoSMART
Here's where the "So" comes in. So= Social. Research shows that a social support system is an important element of achieving goals. Based on my present experience participating in the 6000+ member Facebook Group, the inspiration and motivation that comes from shared experiences makes the SMART goal SoSMART!
Whether you're participating in a large group challenge such as this one, or working on your own to make small changes in your daily life, start by writing a SMART goal, then turn it into a SoSMART goal by sharing the goal with someone. Your social support might be a spouse or friend, a small group, a formal organization, an online group, or anything in between. Just don't try to go it alone. A social network can provide support, motivation and an opportunity for you to share your experiences with others as you work toward making healthy lifestyle changes. And that is SoSMART!