Looking for ways to better set some exercise or weight loss goals? Well, it may be as easy as just getting “smart” about them.
Read on for tips and tricks to setting smart fitness goals for a healthier and happier you.
Set SMART Fitness Goals: Be Specific About Weight Loss And Fitness Goals
Setting the right fitness goals can be half the battle. So how do you do this properly?
Well… you get SMART in 5 easy steps. That’s – S.M.A.R.T.
Let’s dive in.
S – SPECIFIC:
Saying that you want to “eat healthier” or “exercise more” doesn’t help you devise a solid game plan. Specificity is everything. So… what are your exact goals?
Do you want to…
- Lose weight?
- Gain muscle mass and definition?
- Be able to run in a race?
What would really make you feel like a healthier version of yourself? What do you see when you picture a healthier you in your head?
M – MEASURABLE:
How will you be able to track your progress so you know you’ve achieved your goal?
Perhaps you want to lose 20lbs. That’s a clear, measurable amount of weight. Or you may want to be able to run five miles without stopping. Or hit the gym exactly four times each week. Or consume 1500 calories per day.
When you think about how to make your fitness goals more measurable there are several ways you can break this down. Some ways to measure your progress could include:
- Pounds lost
- Weight lifted
- Target daily calories consumed
- The ability to walk or run a particular distance without stopping
- How many times you will hit the gym each week
The great thing about measurable goals is that you can start small and increase them as you improve. This also ensures that you stay motivated and don’t get disillusioned. If you’ve never gone to the gym it may be very hard to get out the door for four workouts a week – at first.
There’s no harm in starting with once a week. Just promise yourself that you’ll get there once a week and form that little habit first. Then after it’s working out for you and the habit has taken, you can push that goal out to two or three times a week
A – ATTAINABLE:
Smart fitness goals are realistic goals. And smart goals are attainable goals. So ask yourself – is your goal actually achievable? If you shoot too high and make it impossible to achieve your goal you might become disillusioned and give up.
It’s the small wins that will actually encourage greater consistency and accomplishment. So losing 50 lbs before your beach vacation in 4 weeks is not a realistic or achievable goal. However, losing 8lbs might be.
R – RELEVANT:
Why do you want to achieve this goal? Without a strong and personal “why” you won’t be motivated enough to go through with your health goal. Some good examples of motivational “whys” include:
- Losing weight before your wedding — or before walking your daughter down the aisle
- Becoming fitter so you can play ball with your kids or grandkids
Running that half marathon so you can tick it off your bucket list
- Exercising to improve your overall health and live a long, happy life
Your goal needs to be really personal and important to you. Not your significant other, or your mother, or your best friend.
T – TIMELY:
It’s essential that you put a time limit on your goal. Otherwise, you might be trying to lose those 10lbs for 10 years.
A time limit keeps you on track and creates a sense of urgency.
Your best bet is to work with smaller “milestone” goals. Then once you achieve them you can push the finish line out again. So, if you do have an ultimate goal to lose 50lbs, make this a long-term goal, and then set smaller, short-term goals to help you reach it. Perhaps, your first goal is to lose 10lbs in 8 weeks.
It’s important that you always take into account your lifestyle, your schedule, and all of your commitments when choosing a SMART goal. What’s achievable for one person in a particular time frame may not be achievable for the next.
Habits And Staying Motivated
Setting goals – achievable goals –relies a lot on personal motivation. Sometimes this motivation can be derailed by your schedule or commitments. Other times it’s because the set goals are just not meaningful enough to you. Or sometimes you just need to form a good solid habit. Just as bad habits can stick, so can good ones. Sometimes it just takes time.
The old turn of phrase is that it takes 21 days to form a habit. These days, science tends to believe it’s more like 66 days, on average. For some people, even longer.1
Habits In Action
It’s worth forming good habits because they really do work. Say, for example, you wish to exercise more – specifically, to go to the gym three times per week.
Rather than just deciding to go “when you find the time” in your day, you need to lock down some specific times. So let’s say you decide to go to the gym at 8 am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week.
At first, this may take some willpower (that’s why you need a strong “why”.) However, if you continue to do this religiously, each and every week at those exact times… before you know it, it’s just what you do. Think of your new habit like brushing your teeth or being at the office on time. You’ll get up and you go to the gym on those days, at that time, every week.
It’s all about tricking your mind.
And if you feel like you need an extra hit of motivation, getting personal training will ensure you’ll never miss a gym visit. They’re waiting for you after all.
Setting Smart Goals: Achieving Realistic, Relevant, Specific Goals
Setting a goal around nutritious eating or physical activity is a great way to improve your health and feel great. But reaching your goals and objectives is not always easy. So, when you set a goal, focus on these 5 easy S.M.A.R.T steps.
Reach for success this new year with Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely goals.
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