Creating SMART Goals
By Whitney Neal
Now that the fun of summer is over and school is about to begin, it is time to set fitness goals and stick to them. George T. Doran developed S.M.A.R.T. goals in 1981 and they have been modified and used for everything from management to fitness. The main advantage of SMART objectives is that they are easier to understand and to know when they have been completed.
Here is a guide to setting SMART fitness goals:
Your goal should be as specific as possible so that you can work toward it and achieve it. Saying that you want to “get healthy” is too general. How do you want to get healthy? Do you want to start exercising? Stop smoking? Eat healthier foods? Write down something more specific such as, “I want to exercise 3 times per week.”
Setting a goal to “lose weight” is not enough. Making your goal measureable allows you to monitor it and track your progress. If your goal is something like, “I want to lose weight”, how will you know when you have achieved that goal? Making a goal to reduce your LDL cholesterol by 20 points or to lose 10 pounds makes it easier to measure.
Setting an attainable goal involves setting a goal that is challenging enough to be motivating, but not so extreme that it is impossible to achieve the goal. For example, setting a goal to lose 20 pounds in 4 weeks is both unrealistic and unhealthy. On the other hand, aiming to lose 1 pound in those same 4 weeks is too easy for most. Creating reasonable and attainable goals for yourself will propel you to success and keep the motivation factor alive.
Your goals should be important to you and relevant to where you are in your life right now. Do not set a goal just because a family member or friend suggested it or because they have set the same goal. Your goals are your motivators to live a more healthy life, so make sure they are goals that you want to achieve.
Make sure each goal has a specific time frame for completion. By limiting the time that you have to accomplish the goal, you have a fixed timeframe that adds a sense of urgency and will help you stay on track.
As schedules get back into swing, take some time this month to write down your SMART fitness goals, periodically review them, and do not be afraid to make revisions!