It’s a new year, folks! With January 1st in our rearview mirror, many people are making resolutions and setting fitness goals for the coming year. Setting goals is important in order to improve fitness, but HOW you set them is even more important. For a goal to be helpful, it should be SMART:
1. Specific – distance, time, weight (lifting) PR, achieve a specific movement (a pull up), change your diet, get a certain amount of sleep, do yoga, etc.
2. Measurable – put numbers on it! You can’t tell if you have improved if you can’t measure it!
3. Achievable – your goal needs to be realistic in terms of your baseline, lifestyle, resources, etc.
4. Relevant – this is your WHY. Why do you want to achieve this goal and how does it fit in to your big goals?
5. Time-bound – Put a realistic time limit on when you achieve your goal to inspire a sense of urgency and motivation.
For example, say you want to run a sub-30 minute 5k in 12 weeks, which would mean taking about 3 minutes off of your current 5k time. This is a SMART goal:
S – You have set a specific goal time for a specific distance
M – You will be able to tell if you have achieved this goal or not, as well as how you are progressing towards your goal.
A – With the right plan, this is a totally doable goal.
R – This fits in with a desire to get faster and fitter.
T – You have a set time table in which you would like to achieve this goal.
From here you are able to make a plan in which you hope to achieve this goal – adding in speed work and strength training in addition to some long, slow runs. This is where a coach can come in handy to help you figure out a systematic way to approach this challenge and avoid injury or burnout.
So, sit down with a pen and a notebook (or cocktail napkin or junk mail envelope), and write out some big and small goals for 2019. Then, pick a few that are the most important to you, and workout a SMART plan to achieve them. Don’t be afraid to call in outside help to assist! You got this!