How to Set SMART Fitness and Health Goals

We’ve all heard of the SMART goal-setting method by this point…right? Well, if you haven’t, SMART is an acronym that helps you to create goals by giving you a sort of guideline for what each goal should be.

Specific: Just that, be as specific as you can be. E.g. don’t write that you want to “be healthier”, but write out specific tasks to achieve that. For this, write something like “I want to work out twice a week for one month.”

Measurable: Make sure there’s a way to track progress. Let’s go with the “be healthier” example. When does that stop? How do you know when you achieved it? For this, it goes hand in hand with specificity – something along the lines of reducing body fat percentage by 2% is a measurable way to work on your health.

Achievable: Make sure you’re being realistic! Do challenge yourself, don’t make life impossible though.

Relevant: Make sure your goals are in line with your overall plan for yourself! If you want to become a healthier person this year, don’t set goals that don’t align with this view. Set goals that make sense – aka, ask yourself what the person you want to be would do.

Time-bound: Set a target end date. A goal without a deadline might as well not exist, as you often won’t finish it, as you haven’t attached a sense of urgency to it. “There’s always tomorrow,” you’ll say. Tomorrow is the magical day where everything you don’t want to do today gets done. Too bad it’s never tomorrow.

How do we apply this to health and fitness goals? Well, aside from the examples I gave when describing what the SMART acronym means, this is a great goal-setting method for any kind of goal. Here’s some analysis of a goal to help you learn what’s SMART and what’s not.

“I will meditate at 8:00AM every morning for 15 minutes this week.”

This is a SMART goal. It’s specific – you’re setting a time that you’re going to do the goal and how long you’ll do it for. It’s measurable – did you meditate for 15 minutes or not? It’s achievable (for my schedule) – obviously if you need to be at work by 8, perhaps you’d shift this to 7:00AM, or the afternoon, etc., but make it fit into your life. It’s relevant – I want to be a more mindful, calm person, and I believe that meditation will help me achieve this. It’s time-bound – I know it will last 15 minutes each day AND this goal ends after one week.

When you apply this to health and fitness, achievable and measurable are both the hardest and easiest to accomplish – you just have to make sure you go down the list before you set a goal in stone. Remember – challenge yourself, but don’t set unrealistic and impossibly lofty goals.

Krys Kestrel (@kryskestrel on ig)

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