For a majority of people, “get healthy” is a typical resolution at the beginning of the year. Unfortunately, statistics show that less than 10% of people actually achieve their resolutions. While the beginning of the year is a great motivator for starting a new routine, successful people know that you can start working on getting healthy any time during the year.
Whether you are fit and want to improve your workout regime, are branching out into a new sport or are easing back into a fitness program, goal setting can help you achieve success.
Why Fitness Goal Setting?
Regardless of where you are in your fitness quest, goal setting can be an effective tool to help you get the results you want. When you set individualized goals, you create a personalized plan that starts at your current level of fitness and can incrementally move you towards your ultimate goal.
Have you been physically active and want to run a marathon? Goal setting can help.Want to change your eating habits and lose weight? Goal setting can help.Recovering from an injury or surgery? Goal setting can help.
If you’re serious about reaching your health-related fitness levels, setting goals using a research-based process can set you up for success. Ready to get started?
Effective Goal Setting
Using the SMART goal setting process to maximize your fitness goals.
SPECIFIC: Make your goal clear and easy to understand. “Get healthy” is not specific enough. How are you planning on getting healthy? What will it look like when you’re healthy? Create a goal that is customized for your personal plan. For example, if your plan is to lose weight, your goal may be, “I will lose 15lbs of weight.”
MEASURABLE: Losing weight is an admirable target, but how will you know when you’ve finished losing weight? A measurable goal is one that has a number or other quantifiable element. Before we can add this element to our sample goal, however, we need to consider the next criteria for our SMART process. Coinciding with a measurable goal is one that is attainable. For example “I will weigh myself once a week to check my progress.”
ATTAINABLE: Before you develop your goal, consider your limits. You may want to run a marathon, which is a great fitness goal. However, if you’ve never even run a mile, running a marathon in a month isn’t attainable. In our weight loss scenario, you may want to lose 60 pounds. Rather than starting with such a big target, break it down into attainable steps. Your initial goal may be “I will lose 10 pounds.”
RELEVANT: Is losing weight relevant to where you are right now? Are you motivated by the idea of weight loss? Ensure that your goal is important to you, otherwise you’ll abandon the goal. Do you have medical reasons for wanting to get fit? Are you anticipating a big event in the future? You are more likely to pursue a purpose driven goal, so tie your goal to a relevant life event. So far, our example reads, “I will lose 10 pounds before I attend my son’s wedding.”
TIMELY: The last criteria for your SMART goal is a time limit. Adding a target date to your goal gives you a deadline to work towards, and provides time-specific motivation. It gives you an end date, “I can give up milkshakes for the next 30 days”, for example, sounds more realistic than “I will never have another milkshake”. In our weight-loss goal example, our goal would say, “I will lose 20 pounds in six months before I attend my son’s wedding.” This gives you a target date and helps you to realize this is a temporal process. Along the way, you may discover that your new healthy living has become a habit, and you may create a new goal. With an end date, however, you can move on to a new goal once you’ve completed your current one.
Using the SMART goal setting process can help you reach your health goals – no matter what level of fitness you may currently have. What will be your first SMART goal?
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