Possibly the most important aspect of success is setting goals, and this is especially evident in relation to health and fitness. Like everything if you’re aren’t sure of the “WHAT – HOW – WHY” you probably won’t be accountable to yourself and fully invested. As a result a commonly taught goal setting technique is setting a S.M.A.R.T. goal, where S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for the following:
- S – Specific – What do you want to do? This needs to be well defined, as if a goal isn’t specific it will become too hard to measure and monitor.
- M – Measureable – How much? How many? When will I know I have achieved my goal? You need to be able to measure your progress and results so make sure you can measure your goal.
- A – Achievable – Your goal needs to be achievable, but also needs to challenge you to perform. Setting a goal too high can be demotivating if you are unable to achieve it, whilst setting it too low can limit your potential.
- R – Relevant – A goal needs to be relevant with regards to the WHAT. If you can’t relate a goal back to the WHAT and WHY then there is a good chance that it isn’t relevant.
- T – Time Based – Last but not least your goal needs to have a definite time frame – for example 4 weeks, 6 weeks, etc.. Be sure not to set goals that are too far away, as it is easier to stay motivated if your achieving monitoring and resetting your goals regularly. On the other side if you’ve found your gaols are very challenging then this would give you the opportunity to reassess and reset as required. It’s fine to have longer term goals, but it can be a bit easier to set some shorter goals along the way to keep you on track.
To try and explain this further the following is an example of a basic S.M.A.R.T. goal:
Jim wants to lose weight and believes he has about 10kgs to lose.
SMART Goal: Jim wants to lose 3 kgs in 4 weeks:
- S – The goal is specific in that it relates to weight loss.
- M – 3kgs is the weight loss goal, and it can be measured using scales.
- A – Loosing 3kgs in 4 weeks equates to loosing 0.75kg/week. This falls into the 0.5kg-1kg/week healthy weight loss range and should be attainable. Every person is different when it comes to weight loss, but we’re assuming that having 10kgs to lose in total would mean 3kgs in 4 weeks would be achievable.
- R – The goal relates to weight loss, and if Jim wants to lose weight, then a 3kg weight loss would certainly be relevant.
- T – 4 weeks is the time based component.
By setting a goal like this “Jim” would then be able to work with a trainer to establish a 4 week program that allows him to achieve the S.M.A.R.T goal – lose 3kgs in 4 weeks.
One of the biggest demotivating factors we find with new clients is when they’ve set themselves an unclear or unachievable goal, and miss the point of goal setting in the first place. Overall setting goals, and reviewing them, is something we assist all our clients with, and is an integral part of our one-on-one PT Sessions.