As cliché as it may sound, goal setting is the key to achieving your dreams. Whether you want to work towards a new career or a new fitness body, you need to set yourself up for success by establishing a written set of goals along with a realistic timeline. Let’s review the proper way to creating goals for yourself that are motivating and easy to follow.
Pen and Paper
The very first thing you want to do is grab a pen and paper. Your laptop could work but it has been shown time and time again that physically writing down your goals helps to motivate you while cementing their importance. Also be sure you’re near a calendar when you start to write. When creating successful goals, you want to keep in mind the S.M.A.R.T. acronym.
Make Your Fitness Goal: Specific
This is the part where most individuals wanting to transform their bodies slip up. You need to create a specific goal. It won’t work if you say that you want to “lose weight.” You need to give yourself the details in terms of pounds. How many pounds of weight do you want to release? How many pounds of muscle do you want to gain? Write down this number.
Make Your Fitness Goal: Measurable
You need to be able to track your progress. You can measure a fitness goal in a variety of ways:
- Step on a scale
- Use a bioelectrical impedance (for body fat)
- The amount of weight you can lift
- Be sure to keep a log of all these numbers so you can watch as you progress towards your goal.
Make Your Fitness Goal: Attainable
It isn’t enough to say you want to do something, you need to be able to formulate a well crafted plan. You need to be able to see and know exactly where you are going during each step of the way. Breakdown your goal by the day, week, month, and year.
Make Your Fitness Goal: Realistic
Again, this is an area where everyone slips up. Realistic goals are going to help you keep up your motivation to succeed. Expecting too much of yourself in a short time period is not only unrealistic but it can be emotionally damaging. For instance:
Unrealistic: I will release 25 pounds in one month
Realistic: I will strive to release 1 pound per week
Make Your Fitness Goal: Time Bound
You need to light the fire under yourself. Give yourself a deadline but in accordance with the step above, make it realistic. For instance:
I want to release 25 pounds of body weight. I will strive to release 1 pound per week or 3 pounds per month. I want to reach my goal in 9 to 10 months.
Remember that goals are always changing. Be flexible and roll with the punches. Above all, stay dedicated to yourself.
American Journal of Health Promotion: “Goal Setting as a Strategy for Dietary and Physical Activity Behavior Change: A Review of the Literature,” November/December 2004.
Organizational Dynamics: “Goal Setting: A Five-Step Approach to Behavior Change,”August 2003.
Patient Education and Counseling: “Goal-Setting for Behavior Change in Primary Care: An Exploration and Status Report,” August 2009.