SMART goal setting
It’s almost the end of the year and, like millions of other people, you’re probably starting to think about what you’ll be doing to get fit in 2015. Everyone starts the New Year full of good intentions but how many of us will still be sticking to our fitness and weight loss resolutions by the end of January let alone the end of the 2015?
Resolving to lose weight or get fit is, of course, a great start but both resolutions are too vague. Without a specific aim in mind and a plan for how to achieve it, you’ll soon find yourself unfocused, disillusioned and ready to abandon your new regime. If you really want to succeed, you have to decide what you want to achieve – in other words, set yourself a goal.
Goal setting is a very powerful way to motivate yourself providing your goals are realistic. By setting small, attainable goals, you can track your progress and will feel a sense of achievement as you complete each phase. For example, if your ultimate aim is to run a half-marathon, begin with a 5k race and work your way up to a 10k before attempting the half-marathon.
Make sure your goal is measurable and give yourself a time frame. Something vague such as “I want to get fit” simply won’t work but “I want to be able to run 5k by the end of February” will.
If it all sounds too complicated, don’t worry. There is a tried and tested formula that will help you realistic and attainable goals and ensure you have a successful outcome: SMART.
In other words, you must clearly define your goal eg losing five kilos in six weeks or going to the gym four times a week.
This means that, whatever your goal, you need to find a way to measure your progress. If you want to lose weight, for example, you need to weigh yourself regularly, take body measurements or body fat readings. If you’d like to improve your running, buy yourself a sports watch and time yourself of keep track of your distances.
Choose a goal that you know you can achieve. There’s no point in planning to do a iron man triathlon if you don’t have the time available for training.
This is related to being achievable. When it comes to fitness and weight loss, we all want the best possible results but choosing an unrealistic goal will only make you feel like a failure. Losing 10 kilos in 10 weeks is a realistic goal but losing 10 kilos in three weeks is not.
Now you have your goal, you must set yourself a timeframe and draw up a detailed plan to ensure you reach it. This will enable you to track your progress and ensure you stay motivated as you work towards your goal.