When I first got into fitness, I was all in. Well, at least when I was 'in' I was 'ALL IN' - and I think you know exactly what I mean but I'll elaborate further.
I would be motivated, ready to make a change and get things together. I would change my diet and hit the gym. I went from playing video games and drinking Dr. Pepper, to going to the gym 7x per week and eating tuna, brown rice, and broccoli.
Great recipe for results, right? Not at all.
A month or two into this type of program something would happen. A mental switch in my head would get flipped and my motivation would come crashing to the ground. I would skip the gym once, and then ultimately not go to the gym the rest of the week.
I would have something that was 'off my diet' and afterwards, the rest of the day was ruined.
Suddenly it had been three months and I hadn't been to the gym once. I was back playing video games and drinking Dr. Pepper and eating saltine crackers (yeah, wonderful combination).
So what was the the problem?
You might think I went too hard too fast, and that's true. I may have 'burned' myself out on the food, the gym, and the lifestyle. Smaller steps would have been more appropriate, especially for the time period in my life (high school).
Truly, I didn't have a SMART goal.
What is a SMART goal?
Most of us have an idea of what we want in our heads, but we never define our goals in a way that makes them achievable.
Your first SMART fitness goal
Fitness goals are the perfect SMART goals to set. It's easy to see how they would fit the criteria listed above, but let's set the first one together.
First, let's look at the criteria a little further:
- Specific - Do you know exactly what you want to achieve?
- Measurable - How will you measure if the goal is achieved?
- Achievable - Don't set yourself up for failure - can this be done in your time frame?
- Results-focused - What is the purpose or benefit of your goal?
- Time-bound - What is the completion date, and does it make you work harder?
Here's an example of a SMART goal:
To lose 3" off my waist in the next 45 days to feel confident on the beach in my swimming suit.
Read it over... Is it specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound?
What are your motivators?
Let's take your goal a step further. You know what it is, but why is it important to you? Get crystal clear on that and write down what achieving the goal would mean to you.
If you've never had a six-pack and that's your goal, that would be quite an accomplishment and would have more meaning than just the abdominal muscles.
Maybe losing the weight is for health reasons - dropping 20 lbs may lower your chances of type 2 diabetes or improve your cholesterol levels. All of those are serious motivators, but they are more than numbers on a chart for your loved ones.
Find those motivators, and write them down under your goal.
What are your next steps?
You have a clearly stated SMART goal. You have clearly defined your motivators.
Now it's time to decide what your next steps are. A clearly defined goal is only good as long as you know where you're going with it.
Take the time and write it down - what are you going to do to start this process? How are you going to achieve this goal? Make it specific, actionable steps..
Write it down... literally.
Keep yourself accountable.
Your goals are clear, you have your motivators, and you know how to achieve them. You're tremendously more likely to reach your goal than if you just had a vague idea of what you wanted to do.
We all have a lazy side, an unmotivated side, and a side that wants to give up. Don't let that side take over; remind yourself what your goal is and why you want to achieve it.
Here are a few ideas:
- Write your goal and motivators on a note card and put it on your mirror each morning.
- Tell your friends and family your goal and tell them you would like their help in reaching it.
- Evaluate yourself at the end of each day and come up with ways you can improve and step closer to your goal.
- While writing this post, I decided we could create a community for accountability as well. So that's what we did. The Nutrithority Action>Talk Group is on Facebook and will be a great place to find accountability partners and gain information and help from those that have been where you are.
Keep moving forward.
Life is rarely perfect and you’re likely going to experience setbacks if you have a long-term goal. Don’t be afraid to adjust your strategy or to reach out to someone you know for help. We have a group of people ready to help you over at our Facebook group - click here to join us!