We all learned in Elementary school the method of creating “S.M.A.R.T.” goals, but may have forgotten this method as an adult. This is a perfect way to create a really good fitness goal! Put your goal somewhere for you to see every day as a reminder, post your goal on Social Media, tell everyone about your goals and ask them to hold you accountable! You’ll have a much better chance at accomplishing your goal if you don’t hide it to yourself.
Specific– Instead of creating a general goal, such as “I want to be in the best shape of my life”, make it as specific as possible. Your goal should answer the following “W” questions:
- Who: Who is involved?
- What: What do I want to accomplish?
- Where: Identify a location.
- When: Establish a time frame.
- Which: Identify requirements and constraints.
- Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
Measurable– You should be able to measure progress toward your goal. Don’t just step on the scale and use that as your only criteria; take body measurements with a tape measure, and also have your body fat taken. Re-assess every 3-4 weeks with these more specific measurements so you can see your progress. This will help keep you on track, stay motivated, and also will give you a sense of accomplishment to keep pushing you toward the end result.
Attainable– Make your goal something that you’re passionate about. This is YOUR goal, not someone else’s, so it has to have significant meaning to you. Believe it or not, if you set your heart on a goal, you will become emotionally attached to it and find a way (no matter how hard it is!) to achieve your goal. If you try to attain a goal that someone else has given you, you’re less likely to stick to it. Your list of goals, endeavors and desires will shape your self-image; you will develop characteristics and personality that will allow you to achieve these goals if you’re passionate about them.
Realistic– Your goal must be something that you are willing and able to work toward. No goal is too high, but if it’s so far out of reach you might be setting yourself up for disappointment. However, on the flip side of things, if you set a goal too low you will more than likely have an apathetic attitude if you don’t achieve it. You need to set yourself a goal that you can measure your progress along the way and still see the end result.
Timely– Give your goal a time stamp. Create a sense of urgency, create “deadlines” just as you would at work! Your goal will be realistic if you don’t just say “someday I will be in the best shape of my life.” Create a plan to dedicate yourself to your goals. You can start with a short term goal, for example you want to lose 8 pounds this month, lose 30 pounds by the New Year, while your long term goal is to lose 100 pounds this year.
T can also mean Tangible. When your goal is tangible, your goal is more likely to be specific, measureable, and thus attainable!
Goal setting can be overwhelming when you have so many you want to achieve. Write everything down that you want to accomplish, break them down into smaller goals, create a game plan for each one and this will make the light at the end of the tunnel a lot closer. And when you start to think about giving up on your goals, always remember why you started!
Heather Weber, NASM CPT, CES