Looking to set a health or fitness goal but don't know where to start? Feeling discouraged because you haven't reached your goals in the past? Many of us make resolutions to lose weight or exercise more but we fail to follow through.
Well, there's a lot of reasons. But it's not just a matter of our own willpower. Sometimes we do ourselves a disservice by not setting SMART goals.
What is a SMART goal? I'm glad you asked! A SMART goal is
Let's dive into these elements a bit further. Feel free to start jotting down notes for your own goals as you read.
When setting a goal, try to be as specific as possible. This will help you know when you've reached the goal. For example, if your goal is to "get stronger", how will you know when you've succeeded?
Instead, your goal could be, "I want to bench press 65 pounds." This is clear and specific. You will still have to create smaller goals to help you get there, but at least you have the target in sight.
Can you measure your progress and success? Can you track it? If yes, you have a measurable goal.
For example, do you want to be able to run a specific distance? Or get a certain number of steps per day? Those are great measurable goals that you can track easily.
There are health and fitness apps that can help you set measurable goals and track your progress in a fun way.
This is pretty simple - make sure that your goal is something that you can achieve. We want our goals to challenge us, but we don't want them to be impossible.
If you are new to fitness it's not attainable (or safe) to try to do 50 push-ups every day for a month. But you could aim for 1 push-up every day and work your way up!
Being honest about your starting point and what is realistic will help keep you stay motivated on your health journey.
This also applies to your lifestyle and schedule. If you want to go to the gym 6 days a week but you have young children to care for, this might not be attainable - and that's okay! But you don't want to be discouraged when you don't reach 6 days a week. Try 2 days a week and see what might be realistic for your lifestyle moving forward.
If you reach your goal, how will you feel? Will it improve your quality of life? If your goal isn't important or relevant to your life, chances are you won't be motivated enough to complete it.
If you have no desire to become a runner, don't create a goal to run a 5k. You don't need to force yourself into a goal because it seems like something you should or ought to be doing. Instead, chose something that is important to you and that will improve your life, happiness, or confidence.
Goals should have a timeline. There has to be some sense of when you want to reach the goal or else you risk procrastinating.
What is a realistic timeline to reach your goal? A week? A month? A year? Whatever it is, tracking your progress along with your timeline is going to help you stay motivated and excited about reaching your goal.
If you have a long-term goal, consider also making smaller, short-term goals to help you along. Again, short-term goals can help keep you motivated and engaged.
Ready to Set Your SMART Goal?
You have all the tools in front of you to set and reach your SMART goal. If you're still struggling to make a meaningful SMART goal, consider working with a health coach to help you learn tips to successfully setting and reaching your health and fitness goals.
Give the process a try! And don't forget to track your progress along the way and celebrate your success.
If you don't reach your goal the first time around, pivot and try again. Return to the SMART guidelines and see if you can adjust the goal the second time around.
"The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step." Lao Tzu