Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: “I lost 15 pounds in just 2 weeks on…” There are always eye-catching and ear-catching statements out there in the world, and perhaps this loss really did happen for someone somewhere. But was that a healthy goal? Very questionable. Is it even a realistic goal? Uh…
Let’s talk about SMART goals, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. If you’ve heard of SMART goals before, you might have heard this broken down slightly differently, but it’s all the same in the end. Goals that are SMART are much more meaningful than vague ones because you can actually measure their achievement and feel psychologically rewarded for hitting them. We can then track our progress and see where we have come from and where we want to go.
Here’s an example fitness goal someone might have: “I want to be stronger.” That’s a great objective, but it is very vague. Let’s break it down and make it SMART.
Specific. How will we quantify and define this goal of “stronger?” Are you talking about endurance? Are you talking about a one-rep maximum heavy lift? Does it mean having stronger glutes to alleviate lower back pain? You get the point. To be specific, we need lots of description of what we mean and how we are going to get there.
Measurable. Yep, put a number on it, or think of some other measurable outcome.
Attainable. Is the goal actually one a human can attain? Can someone actually perform a 4,000 lb. bicep curl. No, that’s not an attainable goal.
Realistic. Not only is it attainable, but can YOU actually do that? Do you have the time and resources to achieve the goal? Or are you working 100 hours a week and have zero time for any fitness goals, let alone getting stronger?
Time-Bound. When do you want to see the result by? Is it within a realistic and specific time frame?
Now we’ll SMARTen up our goal of getting stronger. “My goal isn’t a weightlifting number exactly. I currently have two kids, and I just feel weaker overall than when I was younger. When my toddler gets cranky on a walk and wants me to carry her, I can only do so for about two minutes before my back starts to yell at me and I feel like I need to put her down. My goal is to perform all day-to-day activities more strongly, but specifically I want to be able to move my children around without feeling like I’m hurting myself or exhausted. (All much more Specific, as is the next line.) To quantify it (Measurable), I want to be able to carry my youngest child for at least five minutes and without pain before I put her down. I plan to hire a personal trainer to get started on this goal, and I also plan to get my husband involved as social support. He’s been complaining of similar things, so he might even work out with me. (All details for the Specific aspect.) Can someone actually achieve this goal of wrangling a toddler for longer periods of time without as much pain? Yes. (Attainable.) Is it one that I can achieve? Yes. I’m at the point in my life where I’m ready to start a consistent, well-balanced exercise program with Lance (Realistic). I hear he designs comprehensive fitness programs and really listens to his clients. He’ll support me every step of the way. When will I reach my five-minute toddler strength test and hopefully experience less pain? In 8 weeks. (Time-Bound.)
Yes, there was shameless self-promotion thrown in, but I hope you’ve learned how to set a SMARTer goal. Joking aside, I can help you determine what a realistic goal is and help you achieve it. How much fat can I lose in a week? How much muscle can I gain in a month? How do I best avoid injury and fatigue along the way? Your free consultation is just a click away: https://whereyouarepersonaltraining.com/free-consultation/