Weekly Wellness: Setting Smart Fitness Goals

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COLUMBIA - When I begin working with a new client, one of our areas of focus is goal setting.  Many of my clients find this process intimidating. It seems almost insurmountable. How do I decide what my goals should be? How do I even get started?

In 1981, a paper by George T. Doran called "There's a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management's Goals and Objectives" was published. This paper discussed the importance of objectives and the difficulty in setting them.

SMART is a mnemonic acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-related. It is designed to be a kind of road map to goal setting. Let's plug some details into your G.P.S. (Goal-Planning System) and get started on our journey:

  • Specific - When deciding on our goals, we need to make sure that we are clear about what they are. It should be easy to understand and not too vague.
  • Measurable - We would like our goals to be trackable. If a goal is too broad, we won't be able to track our progress as well as we can when it's associated with measurable data.
  • Attainable - Shooting for the stars is fantastic! I would never tell anyone to disregard exactly what they desire. With that said, when goal-setting, we need to make sure that we keep in mind the limitations that real life creates. We need to be realistic.
  • Relevant - Your goals are YOURS. They belong to you. You need to make sure that your goal is something that you truly want. Your goal needs to be important to you (or you might not be as motivated to meet it).
  • Time-related - Create a timeline for your goal so that you are motivated by a deadline.

Using this map of ours, we might be better capable of creating our SMART goals.

Instead of "I want to lose weight" as a goal, we might choose to set the goal of "I will lose 5% of my current body weight by September."

Instead of "I will work out more" as a goal, we might choose to set the goal of "I will walk 45 minutes, five times every week for three months."

Once we have achieved the goals we have set, we have the opportunity to re-evaluate, re-create and set new goals! It's an exciting thing!

Amanda K Barnes
Certified Personal Trainer


Weekly Wellness