How many New Year’s have you resolved to “exercise more” or “start your fitness journey”? Probably quite a few, like most of us. But what do these goals actually mean?
Many people only have a vague idea, which makes it hard to measure or track their progress. For example, someone might not be clear if “exercising more” means going to the gym three times a week or running every morning in the park.
There’s no goal in life that can’t be achieved, but one key thing that people sometimes struggle with is clearly outlining how to go from A to B. One tool to help you work on your fitness goals with a much lower likelihood of frustration, stagnation or even failure is using the SMART methodology, which we’ll discuss in detail in this article.
What are SMART goals?
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound - it's a goal-setting framework that has proven highly effective in various fields. When applied to fitness, it becomes a powerful tool to turn aspirations into actionable plans, leading to sustainable progress and tangible results.
Specificity: Clearly defining your goals
Setting vague goals like "getting in shape" or "losing weight" is highly ambiguous and lacks focus. This is where specificity comes in, a key factor in providing clarity and precision to any goal you set. Doing this ensures you have a destination to reach and work towards, making it easier to track your progress and stay committed to the journey.
Applying this to your fitness goals, imagine you're drawing a map that will guide you to the final destination. For example, instead of aiming to "improve my cardiovascular capacity," you could say "run a marathon in six months" or "complete a 5 km race in eight weeks." That's the power of specificity - it ignites your motivation, and nothing beats the exhilaration when you cross those finish lines.
Measurability: Quantify your progress and success
Tracking your journey isn't just about numbers - it's about celebrating the small wins that boost your morale and drive you forward. When you measure your progress, you're not only making sure you're on the right path but also fueling your fire to keep going. Objectively tracking your goals allows you to pinpoint areas for growth and cheer for the milestones you've reached along the way.
To achieve this, establish tangible metrics and, above all, assign numbers to them. Whether it's tracking body measurements, workout durations, weight lifted, or the number of steps taken each day; the idea is to have statistics that you can compare and evaluate over time.
Attainability: Setting realistic goals
At the starting line, we're often pumped up, ready to conquer mountains. It's an incredible feeling, but let's be real, motivation isn't always a constant companion. When the buzz fades, how will you keep moving?
Pushing yourself is key, but aiming for the moon right out of the gate can leave you winded and disheartened. That's why we need to strike a sweet spot between dreaming big and staying grounded. Take into account where you are right now, your daily routines, and the resources at hand. Setting goals that stretch you but are still within your grasp will keep you motivated, moving, and excited about the journey ahead.
And for the process to be sustainable, we must understand that fitness should adapt to our lifestyle, not the other way around. Unrealistic goals can lead to disappointment and loss of motivation, as well as exhaustion or injuries.
Relevance: Focus on what matters
Goals that hold personal meaning are more likely to inspire dedication and commitment. Take some time to reflect on why you want to achieve specific goals and how they contribute to your overall well-being and happiness.
Ask yourself what you truly seek with a physical transformation. Maybe it's about powering up your health so you can have more active, memorable moments with your family. Or it could be about boosting your confidence, letting your self-esteem soar.
Time-Bound: Setting a deadline
If you don't put a date on the calendar to achieve your goals, they may lack urgency and lead to procrastination, which will ultimately delay you. Setting deadlines creates a sense of accountability and drives you to take consistent action towards your goals.
On the other hand, significant goals in a physical transformation may seem overwhelming, especially because they are usually long-term. For this reason, breaking them down into smaller, time-bound milestones makes them more manageable and achievable.
It's okay to celebrate each milestone as you progress! This will reinforce your commitment to the process and keep you eager to achieve more.
So in short, if you want to reach for the stars, you need to establish how you're going to reach the sky first.
We cheer on your ambition, we truly do. But remember to stay grounded while reaching for the skies. Keeping your aspirations within the framework of SMART goals is your ticket to a journey that's not only viable and realistic but also sustainable over time.
At Levels, our fitness plans are always realistic and actionable, and any goals we set for you will be measurable. Join our community today!