How to set fitness goals and achieve them
Every person has goals they want to conquer especially when it comes to fitness. Whether your goal is to climb a mountain, run a 5K, or simply increase the ease at which you accomplish everyday tasks, setting goals is something we all do. Here we will elaborate on how to set solid goals, maximize your motivation, and achieve them. Using these tools you will be able to evaluate your current goals making them stronger ensuring you will reach or even surpass them.
So, what does it mean to set solid goals? Isn’t any goal a good goal? Well, yes you have a point! Knowing what you want to do is the first step to accomplishing it and using that knowledge to make SMART goals takes it to the next level. SMART goals are:
Specific- Goals should be well-defined, with clear actions that will be taken. The how and why of each goal need to be explicitly stated.
Measurable- Goals should have a clear objective that is measurable. That way you will know exactly when a goal has been accomplished.
Action-Based- Your goals should be activities you will do not outcomes of those activities. For example losing 5 lbs is an outcome whereas eating 3 healthy meals a day are actions.
Realistic- Goals should be something realistic taking into consideration time allowed, training history, fitness level, genetic potential, physical and psychological tolerance. Losing 20 lbs in one month is not realistic. Losing 20 lbs in 5-6 months is realistic.
Time-Constrained- There must be a sense of urgency to accomplish your goals. Having a specific end date gives you that sense.
You can see from this criteria making SMART goals is not just about an end goal like finishing a 5K. Within that larger goal you have to set smaller goals to help you get there. For example:
“I will run a 5K in three months on October 31. To do this I am going to do my strength training routine at the gym Tuesday and Thursday evenings. On Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays mornings I will run at a 5.0 MPH pace on the treadmill starting at 1 mile increasing my distance by a quarter mile every 6 runs. Saturdays I will run outdoors in accordance with my treadmill distance and Sundays I will rest with some light stretching.”
Notice the specificity of each goal. You have no choice but to steadily work towards your overall goal by continually completing the smaller ones. In other words SMART goals hold you accountable and accountability leads to meeting your goals.
Having weekly or daily goals also keeps you motivated long term. There is nothing worse than one month into training feeling as though you haven’t accomplished anything. At this point feelings of frustration can lead to non-adherence which makes it more difficult to finish what you started. Every small step along the way is something to be celebrated and acknowledged. The idea is to
1. Start Small
2. Work to make progress