If you’re like millions of Americans, you’ve set fitness resolutions in the past and haven’t been as successful as you have wanted. Many times, this is because goals were unrealistic, not specific, or there was no mechanism in place to track your progress towards your goals.
Before I became a trainer and owner of The Phoenix Effect, I worked as a project manager at a microfinance bank. If I learned one thing from my office days, setting SMART goals was the most valuable lesson. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Bound.
When setting fitness goals, we should always try to make them as SMART as possible. For example, saying “I want to get fit,” is not a SMART goal and you’ve just set yourself up for failure. However if you say, “I’d like to improve my body image by working on my fitness and losing four percent of body fat in two months by doing bootcamp at The Phoenix Effect three days a week and tracking my nutrition,” you’re way more likely to succeed. Let’s talk a little more in depth about SMART goals.
Be Specific. Start painting a picture of what you want, where and how you will do it, and why you want to do this.
Make sure your goals are Measurable. Sure, you want to get more fit, but what does that mean to you? Do you want to set a personal record for your deadlift? Do you want to lose body fat? If so, by how much?
Are your goals Achievable and Realistic? Perhaps if you’ve never done a squat in your life, setting a goal of squatting 300 pounds in a month is a bit unrealistic. Same goes for weight loss and muscle gain. Most athletes can hope to lose or gain 1-2 pounds per week. Anything more than that is a stretch. Setting goals requires a bit of self-awareness and knowing your starting point/baseline measurements. If you’re unsure how to do this, contact a fitness professional who can help you out!
Finally, make sure your goals are Time-bound. Set a date. Work towards that date. Write those goals down and post them where you can see them.
Now that you have your goals set, figure out how you will track and monitor your progress instead of forgetting about them. Some people like to set alerts every so often on their calendars. For others, putting the goals on the fridge or their cubicle is enough. Again, this is where self-awareness comes into play. If your methods didn’t work in the past, try something else this time.
I wish you all the best of luck and here’s to a SMART 2015!