Spring is in the air, and the energy and enthusiasm of the season is palpable. As it turns out, Spring is a great time to re-evaluate your fitness progress, and to take a critical look at yourself and how far you’ve come. Or, in some cases, how far you haven’t come.
For those people that are struggling to reach their goals, the issue is likely one of two things. It’s either an issue with the goal itself, or with the plan for achieving it.
Evaluate Your Goal
Today, let’s start by looking at your goal (and tomorrow, in part II, we’ll look at your plan). I help my clients develop SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.
- Specific: We can’t create a map if you don’t know where you want to go. Saying, “I want to look better” is abstract. Saying, “I want my waist to be 2 inches smaller” is more specific. Make your goals as specific and concise as humanly possible.
- Measurable: To track progress, you need to be able to measure it. We can measure fitness success in inches, pounds, increases in energy, clothes fitting differently, the mirror, before and after pictures, pant/dress sizes, etc. As you think about your goals, keep “measurablity” in mind – see if you can build the measurements right into the goal. Instead of saying, “I want to increase my biceps,” you could say, “I want to increase my biceps by two inches.”
- Attainable: If you only make 30 minutes of time available for exercise in your busy schedule, don’t expect to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. The goals that you set need to be “reality checked” by the amount of time you’re willing to put into working out, the resources available to you, what’s healthy (i.e., losing 20 lbs a week is not healthy), age, what’s humanly possible, etc. Save yourself the frustration by picking realistic, attainable goals. On the other hand, don’t make them too attainable, either.
- Relevant: The goals you select should be relevant to your life and your wants. The more relevant the goal, the easier it is to put time and effort into achieving it. The goals that you select should add real value to your life.
- Timely: Set your goals to a specific date. You want a six pack stomach by what date? Beach season? Your birthday? Put it in writing – but remember, be realistic!
Creating SMART goals for yourself will save you a ton of frustration down the road. But what if a SMART goal isn’t enough? Sometimes, the issue isn’t with the goal itself, but rather with the game plan for getting there. Tomorrow, in part II of this series, we’ll help better connect your fitness routine to the goals you are looking to achieve! Stay tuned!