According to Wikipedia, the first known use of the term “SMART goals” was used ” in the November 1981 issue of Management Review by George T. Doran.”
The article goes on to list additional words associated with SMART. However, the following are most commonly associated with the acronym.
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Relevant
T – Time-Bound
The system was implemented among management in the business world. It has, however, been applied to countless other endeavours as well.
So, how would it apply to achieving fitness goals?
Instead of saying, “I want to lose weight and eat better,” it would be more effective to say, “I want to loose 30 pounds and add vegetables to every dinner.”
Now, your goals are more specific.
These goals are most definitely measurable.
You can hop on the scale and you can keep a food journal. (Studies have shown that people who write things down are more likely to achieve their goals.)
Before you become too committed to your fitness goals, make sure they are attainable.
Considering your current situation, will a weight loss of 30 pounds be attainable for you? You might want to choose a less ambitious goal to get you started if you can’t see yourself staying motivated for the long haul. (Many experts see a two-pound per week loss as being reasonable, but there are many factors that determine how quickly each of us will lose weight.)
I once worked with a young woman who said she’d never found a vegetable she liked. Like most children, my three didn’t used to care for veggies either . . . until I started to do stir fries. They liked those. It made me wonder why I hadn’t started cooking that way years earlier.
If vegetables aren’t high on your Foods I Love list, try some different ones or prepare them differently. If eating veggies three times a week would be a more attainable goal for now, it’s still a step in the right direction.
Rather than “relevant,” I would substitute realistic.
Realistic goes hand in hand with attainable. I feel it narrows the field a little more.
Is life going to get extremely stressful in the next little while? Are there several parties on the horizon? Are you going on a cruise? (Unless it’s a health and fitness cruise, I imagine the accessibility of vast amounts of food will be a real temptation.) Are you getting very busy at work and does your job entail sitting in front of a computer for hours each day?
I’m not suggesting you use your schedule as an excuse, but if you choose slightly less ambitious goals and achieve them, that will motivate you to keep moving forward. If, however, your goals are overly ambitious, you might decide prematurely to pack it in.
And finally . . . are your goals time-bound.
Choose your goal: Lose 30 pounds.
Give yourself a reasonable date to achieve this goal. Let’s be reasonable and say you can maintain a 1.5 pound weight loss average each week.
That means you can lose those 30 pounds in 20 weeks or approximately five months.
That’s a big commitment. I would suggest deciding what you can do to keep yourself motivated. You might want to plan a mini celebration every time you lose 5 pounds. (Make sure your celebration does not include food. That could be very counterproductive.)
Even your I’ve Arrived celebration should not centre around food . . . unless it’s all those new and wonderful ways you’ve learned to prepare vegetables.
My SMART goal? To do cardio for 30 minutes three times per week and to do three resistance and/or flexibility workouts per week.
How about you? What is one of your SMART fitness goals?
(Please remember to check with your healthcare provider before beginning an exercise program or changing your diet dramatically.)