Home > community > blogs > sweaty betty

Setting goals the SMART way

posted on Monday, 24th January 2011 | find under Fitness
Failed in your New Year's resolutions already? Get back on track with these helpful and practical tips.
Hey Betties!

So, if you’ve come unstuck with your New Year’s Resolutions already, don’t panic. Many of us can quickly lose sight of our goals or experience a lack of motivation for even the best laid plans once that initial burst of enthusiasm and will power starts to fade.

But all is not lost. And it won’t take you much effort to get back on track and feel more fired up than ever, if you simply sit down and examine the reason why you’ve failed. Ask yourself:

Did my goal seem too ‘big’? – Did the thought of losing two stone seem just that bit too unachievable or overwhelming? Did that ambition to run a marathon seem too ambitious after you missed a couple of runs?

Was my goal too vague? – Did you decide to be healthier or fitter or lose weight without establishing exactly how you were going to achieve that goal?

Did I find or ‘create’ excuses that stopped me from achieving my goal? – Did you use a lack of money/childcare/time/energy as a reason to not exercise or eat healthily? Or even blame stress or tiredness to skip a workout or binge on unhealthy stuff?

If any of this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. The good news is you CAN overcome any and all of the above reasons if you plan your goals a bit more carefully, using the SMART method. SMART stands for:

S pecific
M easurable
A chievable
R ealistic
T ime constrained

Specific – It’s not enough to say you want to get fitter or lose weight. You must set yourself a specific target, i.e., ‘I want to lose two inches off my waist’ or ‘I want to lower my BMI from the ‘obese’ category to within the ‘healthy’ range.

Measurable – Your goal needs to be quantifiable.  For example, ‘I want to reduce my body fat’ is not measurable, but ‘I want to fit into a size 28” jeans’ or ‘I want to reduce my body fat by 5%’ is.

Achievable - Never set a goal if you can’t achieve it. There’s no point aspiring to have the physique of a supermodel if your height and/or build won’t allow it – however slim and toned you become.

Realistic – Taking external factors into consideration is essential. If your lifestyle only allows you to train three times a week, there’s no point following a plan that advises working out five times a week. Anything is better than nothing when it comes to exercise. Don’t set yourself up for failure by aiming for more than is realistically possible.

Time constrained – you HAVE to set a deadline for your goal so you can measure your success, i.e., to increase your aerobic capacity by 10 per cent within three months.

SOUND GOALS encapsulate all the above criteria. For example, my New Year’s resolution was to lose a stone in weight by March 15th 2011 by exercising three times a week, cutting alcohol and watching my calorie intake, which is realistic, achievable, measurable, specific and time-constrained. Did you plan your New Year’s resolution carefully enough that it fulfilled all this criteria?

If not, now’s the time to re-set your goal with clear definitions and deadlines, and start again. It’s definitely not cheating and you’re not failing by starting again. Remember the old saying: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Corny but true.

Give this some thought over the next few days, and then check in with my next blog to find more tips on how to progress and achieve your goal.

Best wishes,
Jo x
Great Advice!
By Suzie - 25th January 2011
Good advice Jo, thanks for the focus (which I really need right now) as I need to practice what I preach lol :) Great blog! and good luck with your goal, Suzie :)
(Leave blank to show as anonymous)
(Required, this will not display)
Back to Top
email a friend