Whether you want to lose weight, gain weight, or just begin a more active and healthy lifestyle, setting goals is vital to seeing the results you are looking for. A great way to approach your goals is to think SMART. The SMART principle helps you structure and track your objectives, as well as giving you a good idea of what you can achieve in a certain amount of time.
S – Specific. Having a specific goal in mind increases the chances of you actually achieving it. Being specific tells the difference between, for example, “I want to bulk up” and “I want to gain 2lbs of muscle every two weeks for the next 6 months.” To help make your goals as specific as possible, you need to ask yourself a few questions. For instance, what do you want to achieve? How are you going to achieve it? With whom are you going to take this journey with? And most importantly, why do you want to achieve this goal?
M – Measurable. Measuring your goals is key to keeping on track. The first step on your fitness journey should be to take measurements of your body, this means your weight, your hips, waist, chest, legs, neck and arms. Every 4 weeks take your measurements again and see what progress has been made. But remember, even the smallest progress is still progress. So if you see on the scales that you have lost 1lb, but you have only lost half an inch on your arms and legs, don’t be disheartened, you are still on the right track.
A – Achievable/Attainable. Be wary of going too extreme with your goals. Set your goals high, but not too high. A goal such as losing 20lbs in 4 weeks is not achievable, nor is it realistic or healthy. However, a goal like losing 20lbs in 6 months is. To make it even more attainable, break it down to smaller goals such as losing 4lbs in 4 weeks. Don’t set yourself up to fail.
R – Realistic/Relevant. Is your goal relevant to you and where you see yourself in the future? Make sure your goal is important to you, and not just something somebody else is pressuring you to do. If your main focus right now isn’t to lose weight, but it is important to you to quit smoking, then do that. Choose something that motivates you. In addition, make sure your goal is realistic, don’t go trying to run a marathon without training for a few months in advance.
T – Time-Bound. Give your goal a timeframe. This makes it easier to see if your goal has been achieved or not. Knowing that you have a deadline helps to get you started. If you want to take your goal to the next level, sign up for an event. Whether it be a competition, an assault course such as Tough Mudder, or running a 10km run, once you have registered and paid your money, you have no choice but to get yourself in shape for it.
With all of this in mind, now it is time to set your own SMART goal. To set yourself up with a true action plan, set a few small action-orientated goals. For example,
- I will drink at least 1 litre of water every day.
- I will limit my alcohol intake to 6 units per week.
- I will consume only 1-2 sugary drinks per week.
Now you are on the right track to a happier, healthier and more active lifestyle.