For the majority of people, “get healthy” is a typical resolution at the beginning of a new year. Unfortunately, studies have shown that less than 25% of people actually continue to be committed to their New Year’s resolutions after just one month.
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 of 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.
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 desired fitness levels, setting goals using a research-based process can set you up for success.
Ready to get started?
Use the SMART goal setting process to maximize your health goals.
Like all goals, your health and fitness goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.
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 10lbs in 5 months.”
A measurable goal is one that has a number or other quantifiable element. Whether you’re measuring in pounds, time spent, miles, or milestones, make sure you're able to track your progress. It will be easier to see results and provide you with the motivation needed to keep going.
Before you develop your goal, consider your limits. You may be dreaming of running that marathon coming up in 1 month. But, if you’ve never run a mile, running a marathon in a month may not be a very attainable goal.
Rather than starting with a huge target, break your goals down into attainable steps. Maybe you start by just walking or jogging at an easy pace a few days a week to get your body ready for running, then you work your way up to running a few miles a week and continue to set bigger goals as your body adjusts to a new healthy lifestyle. This can be said for just about any healthy exercise routine.
Are your specific health and fitness goals relevant to where you are at right now?
Does your goal require you to be at a fitness studio located an hour out of town? That might make it hard to commit for very long.
Does your goal require you to participate in a routine you dread doing? You may find yourself having a hard time being self motivated.
Ensure that your goal makes sense for you and can be made to fit into your lifestyle. Otherwise, it will be much easier to abandon.
The last criteria for your SMART goal is to set 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 will work out for at least 10 minutes 4 days a week,” for example, sounds more realistic than “I will work out every day no matter what” for someone just getting started on their fitness routine.
For a timely weight-loss goal example, your goal might say something like “I will lose 10 pounds in six months before I attend my son’s wedding.” This gives you a target date and helps you to realize that it’s a temporal process. Along the way, you may discover that your new healthy lifestyle 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?
Interested in learning more about goal setting? Check out our blog, where we explore new topics regularly.