Have you ever set a goal or a New Year’s resolution, and did really well sticking to it only to fizzle out and fall back into your old habits 3 or 4 weeks later? I know I have.
Breaking old negative habits and replacing them with new positive habits is never easy, but it’s certainly not impossible.
Identifying your goal is the first and most crucial step in taking something that has not yet happened, and turning it into a reality. HOW you set your goal will directly affect your outcome.
The S.M.A.R.T. approach goes beyond simply identifying a goal. It gives you a clear system for actually achieving it. Here’s an example of how this approach would look as it relates to fitness:
SPECIFIC – Details exactly what needs to happen. Ex: Lose 20 pounds, drop 6% body fat, or take 3 inches off my waist.
MEASURABLE – You should have some way of measuring your progress. Ex: Scale, body fat reader, tape measurer, progress photos, etc. Read How To Properly Track Your Fitness Progress for more on this.
ACCOUNTABLE – Tell someone about your goal who will hold you accountable and won’t let you quit! This could be a loved one, best friend, workout partner, or a coach.
REALISTIC – Is your goal realistic in the time you are giving yourself to achieve it given your lifestyle and demands on your schedule? Ex: Losing 100 pounds in 3 months while working a full-time job with 3 kids is not realistic, but losing 20 pounds under those same circumstances is. A realistic goal is important for morale and motivation, but don’t use this an excuse to set an easily obtainable goal. Make it challenging. As a general rule of thumb, losing 1-2 pounds per week is a healthy and realistic weight loss goal.
TIMELY – Deadlines create the pressure we need to take action and get things done. Choose a timeframe you want to have achieved your goal by, put it in your calendar, and set weekly accountability check-ins and measurement reminders to ensure you are staying on track with your goals. Ex: Lose 20 pounds in 6 weeks… or take 3 inches off my waist in 6 weeks.
Lastly, come up with 5 strong reasons WHY this needs to happen. Examples of a strong “WHY” might include being able to play with your kids, avoiding health issues you may be on the path to, looking good in a bathing suit, or simply having more confidence.
Suggested Reading: Find Your “Why”
Write these down, and keep them where you can see them every day along with your goal. Post them on your fridge or bathroom mirror, carry them in your wallet, or keep them on your iPhone notes.
Studies show that those who write down their goals are 50% more likely to achieve them… yet only 3% of adults actually do this. Be the 3%.
Committed To Your Health,
Brian Donovan is a certified fitness and nutrition coach, and the founder of Online Fitness Coach, LLC – an online fitness program where clients get direct coaching and personally tailored training and nutrition plans. Coach Brian was voted Chicago’s “Best Personal Trainer” by Chicago Reader magazine, Best Of Chicago 2014 edition. He has been featured in magazines such as Muscle & Fitness, Chicago Reader, Voyage Chicago, and The PTDC as well various other health and fitness blogs.
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