A goal is a dream with a plan, as they say. But setting a goal isn't as simple as you may think - if you want to achieve it, that is.
Here's our formula for setting fitness goals that stick. It is based upon the widely-used SMART goals model, and we use it with our clients all the time.
What is a SMART fitness goal?
A goal that is SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ACTION-ORIENTED, REALISTIC, AND TIMELINE (aka S.M.A.R.T. - see what we did there?!). Let's break it down:
SPECIFIC: Not vague - 'I want to be fitter' isn't going to cut it. Think about how you want to look and feel, and what you want to be able to do.
MEASURABLE: Figure out how you're going to measure it. Body measurements, number of workouts per week, how long you can hold a plank, or how many push-ups you can do.
ACTION-ORIENTED: What steps (actions) are you going to take to reach your goal? In this case, how often will you work out? What will you do? What other dietary or lifestyle habits will you implement to support your fitness goal?
REALISTIC: In terms of timing and what's possible. Be realistic - but that doesn't mean don't be ambitious! Don't be afraid to have a big goal! You CAN see big results, but be realistic about the timing (next point). At the same time, doing too much too fast, or in an unsafe way is a no-go.
If you need clarity on what's realistic for you, we're happy to help you figure that out.
TIMELY: Set a deadline. One of the reasons we check-in with clients for assessments on a regular basis is to evaluate progress towards goals and set new ones. Even if you have one big overarching goal, it works really well to set smaller ones and build upon them.
So there you go. Using this formula will give you a much higher likelihood of success - and it works just as well for non-fitness related goals so use it freely!
Poul Nielsen is the owner and operator of Nielsen Fitness, Toronto's leading team of in-home personal trainers. He has 16 years' experience in the fitness industry and has taught courses in Fitness and Lifestyle Management at George Brown College.
In addition to exercise (obviously), he loves spending time with his family, playing the guitar, strong coffee - and dark chocolate!