Goal setting is an important factor to success. The purpose of goal setting is to direct thoughts, attention, and behavior. Creating a systematic plan and identifying or pre-planning for obstacles allows anyone to be prepared for their journey to success. You will be able to gain clarity of your motivation when you can visualize your target.
We will focus on the SMART Goals Model of goal setting. SMART goals are the groundwork for setting goals. The acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
This answers the “who”, “what”, and “where” of your goal. Your goal should clearly define what you want to accomplish. Do you want to exercise alone or with a friend? Where will this exercise happen? What kind of activity will you be doing? The more specific and precise your goal is, the easier it will be to evaluate the progress you are making towards achieving your goal.
You should be able to evaluate whether the goal was achieved. Did you meet your goal of 60 minutes of exercise? Did you finish that 1-mile run? You also need to think about how you will know if you achieved your goal. If you find yourself not being able to assess the accomplishment of the goal, then you should change your goal to something you can measure. Logging the time and type of exercise for each physical activity session allows us to track our progress.
Your goal should be set as something you can achieve with your current physical activity competence and physical capabilities. This allows you to assess whether the goal is something you can accomplish. You don’t want to set yourself up for failure! Is the goal something that you have the time and resources to do? Does going to that afternoon yoga session fit into your work schedule? Are you aiming to run a 7-minute mile when your current 1-mile run time is above 10 minutes? Think of something within your reach but requires effort to achieve.
The goal should have an outcome that is relevant to your needs and ability to achieve it. Are you able to improve your strength by weightlifting? Do you want to improve your cardiovascular endurance by running longer distances? Or do you simply want to be capable of completing daily tasks without pain and tiredness. Think about what activities you are most interested in so that way you will enjoy working towards a physical activity goal that is not only enjoyable for you, but also realistic and of greater value to you.
Your goal should be time-bound, meaning you would need to restrict the goal to a certain time frame. A time-bound goal would give you accountability on where you stand at the end of the time frame. A goal without a time frame is difficult to track and evaluate since there will always be more time for you to complete it. The more specific your time frame is, the better! Is this a short-term goal or long-term goal? Short-term goals would be something you would like to achieve within a few weeks to half a year.
Long-term goals usually have a longer time frame. You can think of it as a New Year resolution where you will have the entire year to complete; however, they can last for longer than a year. Short-term goals can be seen as steps in achieving your long-term goal. They allow for regular re-evaluation, directing you towards your long-term goal. For example, do you have a bigger goal you want to achieve over the next year?
To help you achieve that goal, it is often best to set smaller, shorter-term goals to keep you committed to that long-term goal and to continue making progress towards that longer-term goal. Once you’ve achieved that short-term goal, you can set another short-term goal and you can adjust those short-term goals as needed. In terms of physical activity goals, it is also important to think about how much (# of minutes) and how often (# of times/week) you want to do a certain activity and so there is also a component of time often included within physical activity goals.
Now that you know more about how SMART goal setting works, it is your turn to utilize these into your own plan. At ZenRock Fitness, our personal trainers and yoga instructors are experienced and knowledgeable to assist with your goal setting and plan execution. We have a new studio location in Downtown Bellevue, just around the corner from Main Street. This is the perfect space for you to achieve your health, fitness, and performance goals! We are currently offering a complimentary fitness consultation and workout! For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (425) 406-0045.