Looking for a healthier lifestyle in 2020? Set yourself up for success by setting fitness goals that you will actually be able to conquer!
As research suggests, effective goals can increase people’s motivation to try harder and for longer periods of time1. The SMART method, considered the gold standard for developing measurable and effective objectives2, is a good starting point. When setting your fitness goals, ensure that they are:
S – Specific
Specific goals should be unambiguous and detailed. Try focusing on the “5 W’s” of your goal: What do you want to accomplish? What is it important? Who is going to be involved in this goal? Where can the goal be worked on? When do you want to achieve it by? A specific goal might look like:
“I will be able to hold a plank for two minutes (goal) by practicing yoga twice a week (course of action).”
M – Measurable
Setting a measurable goal means that there must be a tangible way for you to measure your progress. While there are numerous ways to track progress, creating a recording sheet is a great place to start. A goal that is measurable might look like:
“I will be able to hold a plank for two minutes by practicing yoga twice a week and will record my weekly attendance on my recording sheet.”
A – Attainable
Attainable goals are realistic and work within the boundaries of your physical and mental health. This increases the likelihood that you will foster positive attitudes. Remember to be kind to your mind and body when creating attainable goals – for example, it isn’t realistic for a beginner runner to complete a marathon after only one month of training.
R – Relevant
You should be passionate about the goal you are designing! The more relevant the goal is to you, the more likely it is that you will achieve it. Try reflecting on the importance of the goal you’re considering and how reaching it will impact your quality of life.
T – Time Bound
The final and imperative step in this process is to link your goal in with a specific timeframe. Remember to keep it attainable – the timeframe should be used to encourage and guide your progress, not to increase your stress levels! A time-bound goal may look like:
“By May 31, I will be able to hold a plank for two minutes. To achieve this goal, I will practice yoga twice a week and will hold myself accountable by recording my weekly attendance on my recording sheet.”
Hope this simple method will help you achieve the healthier lifestyle you’re seeking in 2020!
- Bjerke, M. B., & Renger, R. (2017). Being smart about writing SMART objectives. Evaluation and program planning, 61, 125-127.