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Goal Setting for Fitness: The Overlooked Factors
(Quick note: I am now accepting personal training clients in Weston, Florida. Limited spots available. Email me at email@example.com for details.)
Goal setting for fitness can make or break your progress.
In twenty seconds, tell me your fitness goals for the next three months. Can you do it? I can bet that if you don’t have those goals on the tip of your tongue that you are probably not achieving the fitness results that you hope for.
I have seen this with my own program. When my goals and objectives are not clear, I spin my wheels. The most efficient way to get to where you want to go is to have a clear understanding of where you want to go and how you will get there.
Equate exercising with traveling. When you get into a car, you generally have a destination in mind. Most of us are too busy to just go out for a joyride. However, many of us get into a habit of doing the workout with no real goal in mind.
Now the best long-term goals (or traveling destinations) are somewhat irrelevant if we do not have a good workout plan (or up-to-date map) to get there. Making the assumption that this newsletter and/or working with a qualified fitness professional will guide you in appropriate workout directions, let me discuss how you can make powerful goals that will motivate you and guide you on your fitness journey.
Sports and exercise psychologists use something called the SMART Principle to help athletes and exercisers make effective goals. I will walk you through this. Grab a piece of paper and a pen and actively participate in this goal-setting technique. Here goes:
The ‘S’ stands for SPECIFIC. You’re goals must be specific. Saying ‘I want to lose weight and tone up’ is a terrible goal. There is no power in it. Saying ‘I want to look and feel like I did when I was 20′ may be a better goal. It’s more specific.
The ‘M’ stands for MEASUREABLE. You’re goals must be measurable. How do you know when you have reached your goals if you can’t measure them? Saying ‘I want to get stronger’ is not good enough. Saying ‘I am going to increase my bench press by 10%’ is better.
The ‘A’ stands for ATTAINABLE. Setting a goal that you know is not attainable is setting yourself up for failure. Saying ‘I want to look and feel like I did when I was 20′ may not be attainable if you are 60…or 80—I didn’t want to leave out my older readers!
The ‘R’ is for REALISTIC. This is similar to attainable, but I look at this from another angle. For example, if you are a 25-year old woman, reducing your body fat to 18% may be attainable, but it may not be realistic in your given situation. Genetics and environment influence what is realistic. If a woman that measures at 35% bodyfat comes to me and says that she wants to get to 18%, most of the time I will probably say ‘That’s not realistic’. Or a lot of people will make a goal of exercising hard for five or six times per week, but in most peoples’ busy lives, this is not realistic. They miss a couple workouts and in a month, they’ve stopped all together. Set a workout routine that is realistic. Three days per week is a good starting point.
The ‘T’ is for TIME-ORIENTED. If you just say, ‘I want to increase my strength by 10%’, that sounds nice, but generally won’t get you to shut off the TV. Set the timeline. Stating ‘I will increase my strength by 10% in four weeks’ is a more motivating goal.
Right now, take the time to think about your own goals and put them down on paper. Use the SMART Principle and make your goals more effective and motivating. If you would like professional, individualized help in this pursuit I am available for in-home coaching and phone consultations regarding your fitness goals. My job is to troubleshoot for you ahead of time and help you clear a pathway to fitness success. Just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can get started.