What are SMART GOALS?
As a personal trainer and kinesiology educator, goal setting is the first step I encourage my clients and students to take. Nothing really would happen if you don’t set goals and give direction to your desires. There is something about putting ideas in a paper that allows your subconscious mind to help you get there. So, let’s get a paper and pencil and write SMART goals!! SMART is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant/realistic, and time-bound. Please note this acronym has been used largely by personal trainers to help their clients reach their fitness goals, but you can use these concepts in other aspects of your life.
Specific: as the word says, your goal needs to be specific and detailed. The clearer it is in your mind, the better chances you’ll have to accomplish them. This helps your subconscious mind to have a clear picture of the outcome on how to get there. For example, you would not say: “I want to be healthy.” This could mean a lot of things such as eating more vegetables and fruits or losing weight. You will need to make your goal specific by saying: “I want to lose 5 pounds of body weight.”
Measurable: this means that your goals need to be measured. In other words, how will you know if you are getting closer to your goal? You need to find a way to measure it. For example, if you want to lose 5 pounds of body weight, you can measure it by getting weighed at the start of your fitness program and weigh yourself midway to your program and at the end of it. In this way, you will know how far are you from your goal and if there are any adjustments, you will need to make. If your goal is related to diet, you can measure it by keeping a food log diary or using a diet app.
Attainable: This relates to the question, is your goal within your reach? Will you be able to accomplish it? Often times, when we start an exercise program, we get so excited that we want to work out as much as possible, and we may end up doing it for 5 days straight for the first weeks. Nevertheless, this takes a hold on our bodies, and we may end up becoming injured or burnout. Thus, stopping the program and not going back. I always state: “small steps at a time.” I want you to really think within yourself and ask this question: Is this goal within my reach? Can I commit to this? Will I be able to include it on my busy schedule? Now, it is crucial that you understand that this is not a race. You need to be patient with yourself. The only person you are competing with is YOU. Do not get discouraged and think to yourself: I should be doing more or am I being lazy? I rather you commit to something small than something big and then you dropping it. Please remember, that this a journey, the journey to be healthy and to exercise for the rest of your life and not just for a temporary goal. It took time for you to gain that weight or be where you are; thus, it will take time to lose that weight. Patience with yourself and perseverance are crucial.
Relevant/realistic: this relates to attainable. I usually explain them together since they work hand in hand. Realistic refers to picking goals that are within your reach. The questions you need to ask: will this goal fit with my full-time job? Will it fit with having a job, school and friends and family? Will I have enough time for it? Is it realistic to my lifestyle? It is crucial that you answer these questions and pick modest goals that you know you can commit; otherwise, you may be setting yourself for disappointment. Again, I rather you start small than big. Slowly but surely.
Time: this relates to a time frame you think your goals will take. Goals can range from 1 week, 1 month, 6 months, 1 year and longer. It is up to you to decide the time length of your goals. I recommend to set one to six-month goals since they call for immediate actions. It also adds more urgency that you need to get into action as soon as possible.
So, how do SMART goals sound like?
Here are examples of some SMART fitness goals that can help you get you started with yours:
“I want to lose 5 pounds of body weight for the next 3 months.”
“I want to pack my meals every Tuesday and Thursday for the next 16 weeks.”
“I want to exercise two times per week after work every Monday and Wednesday for the next month.”
“I want to meal prep for the week every Sunday afternoon for the next 4 weeks.”
Please not that within each goal, you will have weekly objectives that will assist you with the bigger goal. You can use this exercise to assist you:
Long term goals:
1. I want to lose 5lbs of my body weight in 3 months.
Short term objectives (What small things will you do to accomplish your long term goals?)
1. I will commit to go for a walk this Thursday after work
2. I will write a grocery food list today of food I will need to buy to prep my meals.
3. I will buy vegetables and fruits and pack them on my lunch this Tuesday and Thursday