Be SMART with your goals

By Wes BovenB.S. Health Fitness in Preventative & Rehabilitative Programs, Central Michigan University, ATRIC – Aquatic Therapy & Rehab Institute, SET (Specialist in Exercise Therapy) – ISSA

“Our goals can only be reached through the vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”

Pablo Picasso

As the days continue to wind down in 2014, let’s take a moment to assess ourselves and see where we stand in terms of the fitness goals we made at the turn of the New Year.  Are we still on track; exercising more, eating less, making healthy decisions?  Or have we veered off course; reverting back to the behavior we so desperately wanted to change as the calendar year turned?  If you are still on track, keep it up!  Keep putting in the work; it’s hard but the reward is SO worth it!  However, if you are finding it easier to make an excuse then to motivate – keep reading.  This trainer tip could help you.

It’s not that you’re unmotivated, because in all likelihood you are.  You want to change; you want to improve your health.  It’s just that it is so difficult and your couch is so incredibly comfortable.  I blame it on the furniture industry, really.  If they would just quit making things so comfortable people would want to spend less time in them and, in turn, more time up and moving.  But I digress.  In truth, your motivation comes down to how SMART your goals are.  So… how SMART are your goals? 

If you haven’t figured it out yet SMART is an acronym.  One that is vital to making appropriate goals and not “I want to look like Brad Pitt in fight club, even though I currently weigh 290 lbs and watch way too many movies in my free time.  And, oh yeah, I get short of breath walking up a flight of stairs.”  (The previous quote may have been dramatized slightly.)  Setting appropriate goals can be a tricky thing.  So sticking to the SMART guideline could help keep you on track.

SMART stands for:

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Attainable

R – Realistic

T – Time Anchored

Here is an example of a SMART goal:  “I will lose 10 lbs in 5 weeks by losing 2 lbs every week for 5 consecutive weeks.  I will accomplish this goal by eating “x number” calories and working with a personal trainer once a week, learning how to maximize my time in the gym, and on my own 3 other times each week.”

This goal is specific.  Everything is detailed making the goal clear and concise.  It is measurable; tracking calories, tracking weight, etc.  It is attainable and even includes a plan on how to accomplish the goal.  It is also realistic (see slightly dramatized quote above for unrealistic example) and it is anchored to a time frame.  Then, once this goal is achieved use what you have learned about yourself and how your body reacted and create a new one.  This is how you grow; this is how you improve; this is how you find your route to success.

If you find yourself veering off course and are having difficulty creating appropriate goals, please do not hesitate to contact a Personal Trainer.  It is our job to work with you and guide you; creating SMART programs to aid in achieving your SMART goals.  I may have said SMART one too many times but you get the point.  Be well.