Setting Goals

setting goalsI know I talk about this quite a bit, but setting goals is one of the most important things you can do when you’re just starting out.  Whether you’re trying to lose weight, improve your mile time, lose fat, etc. it’s always critical that you have something specific in mind.  So I wanted to post again on how I go about setting goals and how you can make goals that will help keep you motivated.

Setting Goals the SMART Way

When you’re setting goals, you should really use the SMART approach.  It’s a pretty simple approach, but it’s very effective.  A SMART goal is a goal that is:

Specific – What exactly do you want to accomplish?  The worst thing you can say is that you want to “get in shape”.  What does that actually mean?  If you want to lose weight, give me a specific number.  A much better goal would be, “I want to lose 15 lbs.”  That way you know exactly what you want to accomplish.

Measureable – This goes hand-in-hand with being specific.  You need to be able to measure your goal.  You can measure lbs lost, body fat % lost, fit test improvements, etc.  You can’t always quantify how “in shape” you are.  Sure it might be something to shoot for along with your specific goal, but you always need a quantifiable goal.

Attainable – You want your goal to be within reach.  If you say you want to lose 50 lbs in 30 days, that is most likely not going to happen.  And when it doesn’t, you might get discouraged.  Healthy weight loss is really 1-3 lbs a week.  You don’t want to set yourself up for failure and disappointment.  Set a goal that is possible to achieve, and if you hit it early, then just keep going and set a new goal!

Relevant – If we’re talking health and fitness then your goal should apply to health and fitness.  You want your goal to be an outcome of your workouts and nutrition habits.

Timely – Always make your goals time-sensitive.  This is critical.  You need to have a date when you want to hit the goal by.  Otherwise you can just let it drag on for a long time.  I personally like setting 30, 60 or 90 day goals.  It’s good to have long-term goals as well, but it’s much more motivating when you achieve your goals, so short term goals are important too.

Tracking Your Progress After Setting Goals

The reason you set SMART goals is so that you can track your progress and stay motivated.  If you don’t know what exactly you want to accomplish, how can you know when you’ve been successful?  You won’t, and then you’ll get discouraged and quit.  That’s the exact opposite of what I want to see happen!  But when you set SMART goals and start reaching some of your short term goals you will gain momentum and stay motivated.  That’s how people have long term success.  They reach lots of short term goals and before you know it they have made some really big changes!

So what’s your goal?  If you need any help deciding on what a good goal should be let me know and I’d be glad to help you out!

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