They say there is no goal too big, but you can definitely have a goal that is too broad- and most people do. If your goal isn’t correctly developed  you are setting yourself up for failure before you’ve even begun. Remember all the “I’m going to lose weight this year” New Years Resolutions? There’s a reason you have the same one each year. Goals are meant to motivate, inspire, hold you accountable and track progress. Not all goals do, however, just the S.M.A.R.T. ones.
Say your goal is to lose 50 pounds. That’s great, and while this is an admirable goal, it’s not a very S.M.A.R.T goal. A S.M.A.R.T. goal is something you want to achieve, and you have a plan of attack to get there. Is your goal S.M.A.R.T.? Put it to the test:
“I want to lose weight” isn’t a specific enough goal. How much? By when? How quickly? It’s usually best to break up big goals, like losing a big chunk of weight, into smaller 5-10 pound increments to keep you motivated to continue. You gotta get specific.
“I want to get healthy.” “I want to increase my flexibility.” “I want to gain more strength.” The most important part of a goal is achieving it, right? Well, if these are your goals, how will you know when you’ve done it? You have to make sure your goal is something you can measure. “I want to get healthy by getting my BMI into a healthy range for my age.” or  “I want to increase my hamstring flexibility by 2 inches.” or “I want to increase my upper body strength so I can do 50 pushups without stopping.” Those are measurable: you can either do it, or you can’t.
This is where you lay out your plan of action. This is the “how” part, if you will. You can’t attain your goal without putting in the work. You want to lose weight? You do this by exercising a specific (there’s that word again) amount of days per week. You want to eat healthier? You can do this by trying to eat one serving of fruit or vegetables with each meal. What steps will you take to attain your goal?
“I want to lose 100 pounds.” Is it realistic that you can safely drop that much weight? If you weigh 175 pounds, it probably ain’t gunna happen. Even if you have the extra weight, losing 100 pounds in 5 months isn’t realistic either. Don’t be afraid of the slow and steady approach: hitting goals on time or earlier is much more motivating than not, so don’t discourage yourself by setting the bar too high.
You need a deadline, otherwise there is no sense of urgency. Without a time sensitive goal, it becomes very easy to say “Oh, I’ll get back on track tomorrow…” and we all know that tomorrow never comes.
So, using our original example of losing 50 pounds, let’s turn it into a S.M.A.R.T. goal:
“I will lose 50 pounds by next year by losing 1-2 pounds a week through 3 weekly workouts.”
The S.M.A.R.T. approach works for everything: fitness goals, weight loss goals, career goals, financial goals, New Year’s Resolutions, etc. Get specific, set a time frame, and use numbers to make sure you follow through.
Need more motivation?
Refocus with a Fitness Mantra