Make S.M.A.R.T. Fitness Goals in 2011

Posted: January 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

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It’s that time again.  People are getting ready to set their New Year’s Resolutions.  But with only an estimated 20 percent of people accomplishing their resolutions each year (with the largest failure rate among fitness-related resolutions), I urge you to try something different in 2011.  Ditch your New Year’s resolutions.  That’s right…toss them!  Starting this year, I encourage you to set S.M.A.R.T. fitness goals and not resolutions.  While making resolutions at the beginning of each year may be fun, they often sum up to not much more than wishful thinking or the mere hope that we will do better (and hope is not a strategy).  So don’t be part of the 80 percent of people who set the same resolutions year after year, let’s start realizing some S.M.A.R.T. fitness goals.

What do I mean by S.M.A.R.T.?  S.M.A.R.T. is an acroymn that describes the various characterisitcs a goal should have in order to maximize the probability of success.  They are as follows:

Specific – Define your goals. Visualize what exactly you want to achieve.  Once you do, it will become much easier to break down your goals into manageable sub-goals.  You typically want to answer the 6-W questions.

For instance if your goal is to lose weight:

Who: “I…”

What: Try to quantify your goal and be specific: “want to lose 15 pounds…”

When: Set a time frame to reach your goal: “in 3 months…”

Which: Strategize.  How are you going to do this? “…by doing cardiovascular exercise 3 times per week and strength training 2 times per week…”

Where: Identify where you are going to accomplish this. “at the gym…”

Why: Give specific reasons for accomplishing your goal. “so I can be healthy and have more energy.”

So instead of using having the typical resolution of losing more weight, you’ve set the specific goal of, “I want to lose 15 pounds in three months by doing cardiovascular exercise 3 times per week and strength training 2 times per week at the gym, so I can be healthy and have more energy.”  Doesn’t that seem more real to you already?

Measurable – Likewise, your goals must be measureable. You need to be able to tell how close you are to achieving your goal and eventually, when you have reached it.

Attainable – Set realistic goals.  You want to aim high with your goals, but not so much that you won’t be able to reach them.  Smaller, reasonable goals will propel you towards success and keep you motivated.

Relevant – Your goal has to relate to your “overall” goal in life and go along with how you view yourself in the long term.  Plus, it needs to mean something to you.

Time-bound– Beat procrastination and set deadlines for your goals.  As the old adage goes, “procrastination kills dreams.” 

Beyond these guidelines, I would recommend two more things:

1) You need to truly WANT to achieve your goals.  Only YOU can take action and make the necessary changes to be successful.

2) You need someone to hold you accountable.  Try to find a workout buddy to accompany you to the gym, hire a personal trainer, or join a boot camp if you want to combine accountability with someone guiding you along your path.

So go ahead and let 2011 be your year…make S.M.A.R.T. fitness goals and start working towards them!

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