Here’s how to use S.M.A.R.T.:
1. Set specific fitness goals:
A common mistake people make is to set goals that are too vague. If your goal is to lose weight, specify how much — and by when. Also, explore the significance of your goal. Why do you want to lose weight? Knowing why, when, how, and how much are important questions to ask before attempting to achieve your fitness goals.
2. Make your fitness goals measurable:
By setting goals that can be measured at regular intervals, you can gain motivation by seeing exactly how much you have progressed. Measuring both your successes and difficulties will also help you evaluate whether your current plan is the optimal way to achieve your fitness goals.
3. Set achievable, action-oriented goals:
Another common goal-setting mistake is setting expectations for ourselves that are too high, or simply out of reach. By creating achievable goals early, you will stay motivated and greatly increase your chances of success. Early achievements will often lead to greater success down the road.
4. Keep your fitness goals realistic and reasonable:
There’s no need to set unrealistic goals such as “I will work out every day this month.” These can often set you up for failure and create a loss of motivation. Remember that illness — as well as work and family commitments — can sometimes temporarily de-rail your scheduled workout; the key is to get back to your routine as quickly as possible without losing motivation.
5. Set a deadline to achieve your measurable goal:
Goals with no pre-determined finish date are doomed before they begin. Setting a fixed timetable will create a sense of urgency that can provide extra motivation to achieve your fitness goals. A major roadblock to achieving your goal is procrastination, setting a “due date” can help deal with this common problem.
Following these S.M.A.R.T. guidelines will set you up for success and give you the tools needed to achieve your goals. Remember to be patient, and take great comfort and reward from the slow but steady achievements that will in turn provide you with the motivation needed to achieve your overall fitness goals.