When working with new clients, I always stress the importance of setting realistic goals. Goals that are too lofty can ultimately lead to a feeling of failure if you can’t achieve them. Long term this can lead to a client losing motivation and becoming discouraged in their quest for fitness.
S – Specific
A SMART goal must be well-defined and focused, not vague or general. Setting a specific goal requires you to answer some, or all of the W questions including who, what, where, when, why, and which.
Example: A general goal would be “get in shape”, but a specific goal would be “go to the gym 3 days a week and workout for 1 hour”.
M – Measurable
Setting up a SMART goal requires that you give yourself some way of measuring your progress. If your goal is specific, it will also be measurable.
Example: In the specific goal “go to the gym 3 days a week and workout for 1 hour”, your measurable variable is built in. You can track your progress with the amount of times a week you are making it to the gym as well as with the amount of time you are spending working out.
A – Achievable
It’s important when setting goals, to make sure that you are challenging yourself, but beware of setting the bar too high. Failure to make sure your goals are achievable can lead to feelings of failure and may take your motivation away.
Example: Setting a goal to win a half marathon is pretty lofty, if not impossible, if you have never competed in one before, but setting a goal to complete a half marathon in a reasonable amount of time is a much more achievable goal for a beginner.
R – Realistic
Setting a realistic goal requires you to be honest with yourself about your discipline and expectations for yourself. Adding a phrase such as “I will try my hardest” makes it easier to give ourselves the wiggle room to mess up when we can’t be perfect.
Example: “I will do my best to limit my desserts to 3 days a week” is a much more realistic goal than “I will never eat a dessert again in my life”.
T – Time
Goals must have a time constraint on them. Failure to give yourself a timeline to follow will make it difficult to keep yourself motivated towards achieving your goals.
Example: “I will work out 3 days a week for one hour. I will do this for 2 months”
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