Setting SMART goals are a necessary first step when trying to make any positive change. That’s why I recommend using them for all my fitness & nutrition clients! The letters in SMART stand for Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic & Timely. In addition to teaching you more about setting SMART goals, we share a SMART goals worksheet that you can print too.
Using SMART Goals To Set Achievable Goals.
The concept behind this simple approach to goal-setting is ensuring that you have easy-to-follow action steps in place.
Let’s take a closer look at the words that make up the SMART acronym for setting goals:
S – Specific Goals
Specify what you are trying to achieve, why you want it, and how you plan to accomplish this. No vague goals are allowed here.
M – Measurable Goals
Measure the actions you will need to make in order to achieve this goal.
A – Attainable Goals
Is it attainable? Ask yourself if the actions you are going to be required to take are within your means.
R – Realistic Goals
Also, determine if it’s realistic for you to achieve this goal? But don’t get me wrong, be sure to not sell yourself short with this one!
T – Timely Goals
You must have a deadline set for yourself. This helps motivate & ensure that it actually gets done, in a timely manner.
Here is a free smart goals worksheet to help keep track of your goals. Click on the graphic for a printable version to serve as your goals template.
Lifestyle Changes Just Got 5x Easier, Right?
Now that you have the SMART blueprint laid out for you, you’re one step close to accomplishing all of your health & fitness goals! I like to put my smart goals worksheet on my refrigerator or mirror so they stay on my mind. Moving forward, a good rule of thumb is to use is the following – If a proposed goal does not meet all 5 SMART characteristics, then you may want to reconsider your options. Similarly, sometimes you merely need to make a few small adjustments.
To help you better understand this concept, take a look at an example scenario. Let’s assume your goal is to tone up & lose some body fat. A SMART goal would look like this:
“Perform a strength training exercise with dumbbells, 4 times weekly, 30 minutes in length, for 6 weeks in a row.”
Do you see how the goal above was Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic & Timely?
A Few More Smart Goal Setting Scenarios.
If you want to become bulletproof in your goal-setting management, then it’s important you really understand the SMART concept in and out.
So here are a few additional examples where SMART goals are being set:
Peggy wants to lose weight to improve her overall health & feel better in her own skin. Here’s an example of her setting a SMART goal: “I will follow a macro-specific meal plan, daily, each meal, for 30 days straight.”
Noel wants to be more flexible & decrease his chronic pain caused by overactive muscles. A SMART goal for him would be: “I will write practice yoga at home, daily, every morning upon waking, for 45 days in a row.”
Jessica wants to have a stronger core & tighter midsection. Here’s her SMART goal: “I will complete a core & ab circuit workout, 5 days a week, by the end of each day, for 28 consecutive days.”
Goal Achievements Should Inspire & Motivate You.
The beautiful thing about accomplishing goals is that it gives you a sort of natural high. You’ll feel more confident, capable & ready to take on more. And this is a wave you need to ride! This is how you find the strength & motivation to keep accomplishing new milestones.
For example, assume you just reached the end date of your 6 weeks of strength training 4 times a week. That’s fantastic, but this is your chance to begin upping the workout frequency from 4 times a week, to 5 or even 6.
It’s Time To Determine Your Initial SMART Goal.
Before you go, I’d love to walk you through setting your first SMART goal. As a Lifestyle Coach, I know how stressful and staggering it can be to make changes to your habits, schedule & nutrition. I hope you’re able to find some comfort in knowing that you are not alone in this. Just about everyone has trepidation & resistance when they’re making the conscious effort to venture outside of their comfort zone.
Remember to take it one step at a time. Using these skills takes time. Slow and steady wins the race.
Here’s a great activity to help you see the bigger picture. Begin first by writing your daily habits & regular meal preferences. Circle anything you think might be derailing your dietary, fitness & overall health goals. Keep in mind, consulting a professional just to help get the ball rolling is always a viable option!
Setting Yourself For Even Further Success.
Even though I’m a personal trainer, nutrition coach & life coach, I strongly believe in self-sufficiency and independence. This is exactly what I aim to help all of my clients attain.
Did you manage to circle habits & lifestyle choices that might be detrimental to your health & wellness goals? Well here’s a few common ones I’ve seen in both my own life, as well as my clients. I’ve also included a viable option to help you work around it!:
Sitting for hours on phone calls: Don’t sit. Walk around the house, neighborhood, office, or park instead!
Eating sweet snacks at night: Plan to eat a healthier option instead. A protein smoothie with frozen fruits & veggies is always enough to cure my own late-night cravings for dessert! Make sure it’s easily accessible as well.
Watching TV for hours at a time: Plan out a 100 rep bodyweight workout to do between every commercial break (or episode, if you’re on Netflix).
Here’s something I hope you really take in. And that is, be sure to keep an optimistic mindset!!
You must approach your health & fitness goals from a place of self-love, not from self-hatred. Sure, recognize that’s you’re not happy with where you’re at if that’s the case. But then envision what you want for yourself, and then do what it takes to sensibly get yourself there in a safe & sustainable manner.
Here’s another example scenario:
“I won’t let myself have a beer each evening after work” screams negativity & self-punishment.
On the other hand, “I’ll have a kombucha 2 days a week instead of a beer” is much more compassionate & inviting.
Be Sure You Follow Through.
Finally, don’t just say you’re going to do something. Get all the resources in place to ensure you’re able to make it happen. If it’s a meal plan you’re committing to, go grocery shopping and stock your kitchen with the necessary ingredients.
Similarly, if you say you’re going to begin going to the gym three times a week. Make sure you have a gym membership!
Envision Your New & Improved Self.
In the last few years, I’ve discovered the powerful effect that visualization has on the outcome of basically any situation. Health & fitness goals included. So take a few moments daily, and mentally plan what you will be doing to achieve your SMART goals. Picture what you’ll be dressed in. Estimate the time of day- before or after lunch? And most importantly, what does it feel like once you have done what you set out to do? Doesn’t it feel good?
Hold on to these feelings, and let them drive you to stay on track.
Take Notes Along The Way.
Of course, humans like ourselves can be easily distracted & lose motivation. Especially after a period of success. You think, eh what’s it going to hurt if I eat the box of cookies? Or does it really matter if I miss this week’s cardio session?
Well, in my professional and personal experience, it actually does matter. More so in that, it’s a slow fade once you lose sight of the goal.
And a good way to ensure you do not lose sight of the goal is to make notes of your progress along the way. Take weekly pictures, body measurements, and be sure to write down every one of your exercises. Or you can log workouts in a fitness watch such as an Apple Watch or FitBit. Keeping a food diary, or using an app such as MyFitnessPal are also great ways to keep records of your health & fitness journey!