S.M.A.R.T. Goal Setting

Have you ever set out on a cross country road trip, without a map or GPS, without knowing your final destination or what day you want to arrive? Embarking on a fitness plan without having goals is kind of like going on a road trip without a map or plan. Sure, you can be spontaneous and take the long scenic route, but when it comes to fitness, most people want and need to see results in order to stay motivated. Creating and using personal goals is a great way to stay on a direct course towards your more fit and fabulous healthy lifestyle.

When setting goals, strive to make them SMART. SMART goals are:

  • Specific: clearly defined and focused, not general statements
  • Measurable: quantifiable and objective, enables you to see exactly how far you’ve come
  • Action-oriented: what activities you will do to achieve your goal
  • Realistic: given your current fitness level and abilities, this goal is within your reach
  • Timely: establish a realistic time frame in which to meet your goal

For example, instead of having a goal of simply losing weight, a SMARTer goal would be: “to lose 15 pounds of fat by Sep 10th by doing cardio and strength training 4 times a week for 45 mins.”

The great thing about SMART goals is they can be broken down into shorter term goals, or be incorporated into long term goals. Many people find it extra motivating to establish rewards for themselves as they reach each short term goal. Choose rewards that won’t sabotage your long term efforts or your budget. Some popular rewards are a massage, pedicure, weekend get-away, new outfit, tickets to a game, etc.

You may also find it effective to write your goals on a calendar, put them in your smart phone, or post them on your refrigerator or on your mirror. The key is to keep your goals someplace where you’ll be reminded of them often. You’ll be able to see exactly where you have been and where you are going, so that even if you do veer slightly off course, you can make a quick course correction and get right back on track to achieve your goals!

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