It is that time of year again.We start to think about our goals and what we would like to accomplish for the New Year. Goals are an important part of any fitness and wellness plan, but it is important for your goals to be S.M.A.R.T. Following the guidelines below will help to ensure that you will reach the goals you have set for 2023.
What Does S.M.A.R.T Stand For?
When it comes to setting SMART goals, the term does not just refer to cleverness or intelligence.
In fact, SMART is an acronym that stands for the following
Collectively, these traits define a SMART goal, whereas other goals do not sufficiently meet these criteria.
Studies have shown when working on goal setting and action planning for behavioral change, SMART goals are necessary because they “help individuals focus their desires and intentions and create a standard by which success can be measured”.
Additionally, SMART goals should be intrinsically motivating, based on both approach and mastery outcomes, and appropriately challenging.
Consider the following goal:
“I will perform resistance training 3 times per week for the next 8 weeks.”
This goal fits neatly into the SMART paradigm and gives you a distinct set of criteria that you have a great deal of control over.
This allows you to be the driver of whether you achieve the goal, as opposed to outside forces beyond your control that influence your outcome.
Let’s break down each SMART criteria in more detail.
Specificity is a must when it comes to setting SMART goals. Specific goals have a numerical value by which you can determine your success or failure.
Consider the previous example of performing resistance training 3 times per week for the next 8 weeks. This is so specific that it leaves no room for interpretation. At the end of a week, you either did or did not perform the workouts as planned.
Compare this with a goal such as “exercise more.”
This goal essentially means anything and nothing at the same time. If you just do a few minutes of walking, you’re technically exercising more but unlikely to see any results.
Given the lack of specificity, it’s much harder to gauge whether you’re meeting your goal criteria, and if you aren’t, what you need to change to make it happen.
Goal specificity should remove any ambiguity regarding whether you hit your goals.
In line with being specific, the goals must also be measurable to allow you to gauge whether you’re meeting them.
For example, “losing 10 pounds in 12 weeks” is a measurable goal that you can track.
However, simply saying “I want to lose weight” is too vague.
You may lose a pound and see no physical change and end up being disappointed even though you technically lost weight.
With the rise of fitness trackers that allow you to measure your vital functions and athletic performance, setting measurable goals for almost every aspect of fitness has never been easier.
If you cannot put a number on it, it’s not measurable and leaves too much room for interpretation as to whether you met your goal.
The third SMART criteria you must consider is whether the goal is attainable.
While there’s nothing wrong with major, long-term fitness goals, most fitness programs should focus on what you can achieve within several weeks to months, as opposed to a monumental target that will take a decade to achieve.
An attainable goal will always be relative to your current fitness level.
If you only need another 10 pounds of weight on the bar before hitting a 1x bodyweight barbell squat, then a month or two of training is a realistic time frame.
On the other hand, if you have not exercised in years, performing a 1x bodyweight back squat will probably take a few years.
Instead, consider adjusting your goals based on where you are now.
Perhaps going with “perform 10 full-depth goblet squats with a 25-pound kettlebell within 3 months” would be more attainable for your level.
However, attainable goals should still push you significantly toward becoming stronger and healthier. Setting attainable goals is as much an art as it is a science.
You must ensure your goals are not so hard as to guarantee failure, yet not so easy that you do not get any real satisfaction or benefit upon reaching them.
Relevant goals are those that pertain to you and are tailored toward your life, health, and fitness needs.
For example, if you’re dealing with hypertension and pre diabetes, focusing on a specific weekly aerobic exercise goal is more relevant than trying to reach a 30-inch vertical jump.
On the other hand, if you’re trying to make the varsity basketball team, focusing on your vertical jump height could be more appropriate than setting a weekly goal for aerobic exercise.
Your goal should be relevant to both your health needs and overall interests.
The final component of SMART goals is that they are time-bound. This means there’s a specific time period within which you plan to achieve your goal.
Although there’s no hard-and-fast rule on how long your time frame should be, most SMART goals should aim to take 1–3 months to achieve.
Of course, the period of time you select for your SMART goals will influence how attainable they are, but the main point is that you do not leave the time frame so open-ended that you never start or never finish your original goal.
Using the weight loss example, a goal to lose “10 pounds in 3 months” gives you a motivating window within which attaining your goal is reasonable. Yet, it keeps you accountable for both starting and finishing your goal in the time frame you set for yourself.
If you just said, “lose 10 pounds,” you set yourself up for disappointment if by week 6 you have not yet lost the 10 pounds despite this being unrealistic.
On the flip side, if you have no sense of urgency or due date for your goals, it’s far too easy to just “start on Monday” and continue procrastinating.
Without putting a time-bound window on the date for achieving your goal, you’re set up for failure.
Goals are specific to everyone, specific to your needs and what you would like to accomplish.
Aspen Fitness & Nutrition can help you meet your goals. With a variety of new programs starting in January. See the list below;
-Aspen Fitness & Nutrition Wellness Calendar 2023
-Group Personal Training (via zoom, train with family and friends around the world)
-Individual Personal Training (via zoom, or the Aspen Fitness App)
-Individual Nutrition Coaching (Aspen Fitness App)
-Combination of both Personal Training and Nutrition Coaching
-8-week Programs (Aspen Fitness App) 5K running/walking program, Home workouts program, Band workouts
New Programs will be added monthly starting in 2023. Please reach out with any questions or to be added to our monthly Newsletter. Checkout our website for more information.
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