It is 2018!! Most likely you have sat down at some point recently and written out some New Year’s Resolutions. Did any of these include the decision to make a change with your health and wellness? Have you made similar goals like this that you have struggled to keep in the past?
Most people want to be fit and healthy, however it is not well executed and carried out often. So, what we want to look at is… how are you setting your exercise goals? Are those goals attainable? And how do you set realistic goals, particularly when it comes to exercise.
You may have heard of SMART goals at some stage. SMART, stands for:
Specific – Make your goal clear and easy to understand
Measurable – Be able to quantify your results
Attainable – Be realistic in your endeavours
Relevant – Does it fit where you want to go in life
Time-bound – Know what your time frame is
So, how do we translate this to be specific to exercise?
Firstly, we are often told to go big and reach for the stars. But in this case, a big bold statement is not so helpful… saying, “I want to be fit” is too vague and generic. What we should do it start small and focus on one aspect of our fitness we wish to improve, for example. “I want to walk up the stairs at work without being breathless”. It is better to reach that goal and set a new one, than fail to reach your goals at all.
For example, if you have never exercised, perhaps set a target of walking 5kms, not running the comrades. Then, once you have achieved the 5km, you can set your sights on something bigger.
The reality of human nature, is that when we set our goals, we are usually energized and motivated. But those feelings often give way to lethargy and lazyness. Therefore, a progressive goal will be more effective, and the success in your goals will give you the confidence to reach even higher.
Step 1: Set a goal.
Step 2: Evaluate it.
- How big is this goal? How long will it take to be attained? Should it be broken into more short-term goals?
- What will it take to achieve this goal? Is it realistic to achieve what is needed for success?
- Do you think you will succeed? Will you be in it for the long haul?
Step 3: Be accountable – tell someone your goal, write it down, have a record so that you know if you are on track or if you are losing track.
Now that we know how to set goals, let’s look at an example of a SMART goal:
S: To be able to do 20 squats pain free by the end of January.
I will do this by attending Silver Fit classes twice a week. Furthermore, I will do 5 squats every day for the first week in January, 10 for the second week, 15 for the third week, and finally 20.
M: I will set a reminder on my phone for my daily exercise. I will also tell my fellow class mates my goal so they can keep me stay accountable.
A: It is achievable as I have been attending my silver fit classes for 3 months and I have a doctors clearance to do these types of exercises.
R: It is realistic as I am currently doing 10 squats and I am limited only by a lack of muscle strength which will come with practice.
T: I will do this at 9am every day after breakfast.
Lastly, it is important to remember that life happens and things change. It is okay to tweak goals as time goes on. As long as you are constantly keeping your long-term goals in mind and knowing where you are headed.
Life is made up of the small things we do daily. So, do the little things right and the big things will come.