By Mosope Idowu
The S.M.A.R.T.E.R.S Guide For Fitness Goal Setting
With a new year just around the corner, many of us are already working on setting our goals for 2017. We’ve all got goals and we all want to succeed, but I’m sure that many of us can relate with this scenario;
It’s the start of another year and at the top of your list of resolutions is the same thing that you have written down each year for the last 5 or 10 years;
You tell yourself, “This will be the year! I’ll join a good gym, get a trainer, and enroll in a program…” But a few short weeks or months into the year you completely abandon your resolution and by the time the end of the year rolls around you are at the same spot you started from, or maybe even worse off!
Studies show that more than 70 per cent of people who set a fitness goal each year will not achieve it! The main reason for this low success rate is that most people do not put a lot of time and thought into their goal setting and therefore set themselves up for frustration and failure.
If you are one of the people in this 70 per cent category that would like to break out of this cycle in 2017, then give the S.M.A.R.T.E.R.S guide for your fitness goal setting a try.
When you are setting your fitness goals for the New Year make sure that they are;
Specific: Most people aren’t specific with their goals, simply because they haven’t given it enough thought or aren’t really sure what they are trying to accomplish. You need to picture exactly where you are going. Ask yourself some specific questions like,
“What am I going to do?”
“Why am I doing it?”
“How will I do it?”
“How will I feel when I achieve it?”
Answering these questions will give you something to hold on to anytime you want to give up.
Measurable: An unmeasurable goal is probably not worth setting, because how will you know when it’s been accomplished? For instance just saying “lose weight” is not good enough; you need to set some numbers to it – i.e. how much weight do you want to lose – so that you know what you are working towards.
Attainable: It’s true that you can do anything that you put your mind to, but you need to put some action to it! Take a look at your life and schedule and write down the attainable actions that you will need to take to reach your goal. Is working out 7 days a week for 2 hours each time really feasible? If not then don’t say you will- because you will just set yourself up for overwhelm.
Realistic: Make sure your goals are realistic for YOU. Expecting to lose 20lbs in one month is not realistic (or healthy!) so don’t set such a goal for yourself. It will only end in disappointment!
Time Sensitive: It’s good to set a weight loss goal for a specific period of time, but the truth of the matter is that sometimes things don’t happen the way we “plan” and if we have nothing to look forward to except this one BIG goal, we will keep feeling like we are achieving nothing. So break down your long term goals into short-term goals – i.e. set REALISTIC monthly goals -to keep you motivated and create a feasible positive feedback loop.
Evaluate: Every good and well-designed program needs an evaluation process built into it. So set some predetermined assessment times – i.e. monthly or quarterly – and ask yourself some questions to see how you are doing.
“What areas are you succeeding in?”
“What isn’t working?”
“What do you need help with?”
“Who can help you?”
Realign – If you find, from your evaluation, that you are off track, or that your goals are not being met, then it’s time to change/modify your program. There is no point in continuing to do something that isn’t working for you!
Success – REWARD YOURSELF every so often! Now this doesn’t have to mean a cheat meal. It could be getting yourself that new pair of jeans you’ve been eyeing in a smaller size (after all you can fit into them now!) or if you are like me rewarding yourself with new workout clothes or shoes.
Mosope Idowu is the founder of bethelfitmum , which caters to busy mums with young children who have limited time and feel overwhelmed by the demands of life, but desire to improve their fitness.