When you’re setting goals it’s also important to focus on lead indicators. With any goal you have lead indicators and lag indicators. Lead indicators are predictive of the desired results. Lag indicators are often the desired results but by the time you measure them it’s too late to do anything about them.
For example, if your goal is to lose weight. A SMART goal would be say, to weigh 180 pounds on July 1st, 2011. If your current weight is 200 pounds then this would satisfy the SMART criteria. However, if you jump on the scales on July 1st and you are over 180, then it will be too late to do anything.
If you set yourself lead indicator goals like: Every week I will exercise a minimum of four times per week for 60 minutes per session of high-impact cardio. In addition I will abstain from alcohol and keep a food journal to monitor what I eat and ensure I eat no more than 2,000 calories per day.
These lead goals are not going to guarantee a weight of 180 pounds by July 1st, but they are predictive of moving in that direction. The important factor here is to ensure that there is a high correlation between your lead goals and your desired result. Essentially it’s a bet, and the more information you have the better the bet will be.
So when you’re setting goals, look to the lead indicators and set your goals accordingly.