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Are Your Goals SMART Enough?

by Colt K. on January 2, 2014

It's a new year and a perfect opportunity to think about what you'd like to work towards over the next 12 months. When it comes to health and fitness, setting exercise goals is an often-overlooked piece of the pie. While just showing up at the gym may work for some, most people need a clearly defined path and end point – a plan and a GOAL.

Casually declaring a goal can be easy but setting effective and reachable goals can be tricky.  A frequently used goal-setting strategy is the S.M.A.R.T. method.  S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for:  Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound and here’s why it works!

SPECIFIC
Usually when people start working out, they have a general goal in mind like “getting healthy” or “looking better.” While this is a great start, defining more specific goals will narrow your focus, eliminate variables and give you a better chance at success.

MEASUREABLE
Along with being specific, successful goals should also be measurable. For example, a goal to “lose weight” could be interpreted many different ways… one pound, 15 pounds or any amount of weight.  Adding a measurable component (i.e., “losing 20 pounds”) will give you a target to aim for and you’ll now when you’ve hit it – giving you a sense of accomplishment. Also, many undefined goals, like weight loss, can become emotional.  Having a concrete goal will help keep you grounded and moving in the right direction.

ATTAINABLE
Goals should be realistic and attainable – not too easy or too hard. Goals that can be easily reached won’t be challenging and your motivation will be affected. If you have lofty goals, you should break them down into smaller chunks so that they’re easier – but not too easy – to hit.  Your sense of accomplishment will further motivate and inspire you along your way. For example, if you goal is to lose 50 pounds, you’ll have better success breaking it down into five 10-pound increments.

RELEVANT
Goals should be relevant to your interests and needs, so plan your workouts accordingly. For example, 30 minutes of cardio won’t help you reach the goal “bench pressing 100 pounds.”

TIME-BOUND
Measurable goals should be time-bound as well. For example, “losing 20 pounds before the wedding” probably will motivate you to achieve results because your specific goal has to be met within a specific timeframe.

We’ve created some online tools and that can help you set and achieve your fitness goals. You can calculate your BMI, find out how many calories you should be eating every day and more! Check out our Fitness Tools [link: http://www.24hourfitness.com/resources/fitness_tools/] here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Colt started as an Assistant Fitness Manager with 24 Hour Fitness at our Shawnee Sport location in Shawnee, KS.  Colt moved up to Club Fitness Manager and then a Club Manager shortly thereafter.  Currently, Colt is a District Manager in Dallas, TX. When he’s not working, Colt likes to spend time with his wife white water rafting, mountain biking and other active outdoor adventures.

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