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How can I set health and fitness goals?

Goal setting is vital to successful progression and completion of a program. A good acronym to use to make this is easy are SMART goals, which are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Here is what they mean:

Specific

  • A specific goal is one that is clearly defined in such a way that anyone could understand what the intended outcome is. Goals should contain a detailed description of what is to be accomplished; when  do you want to accomplish it by; and the action(s) that will be taken to accomplish it.

Measurable

  • Goals need to be quantifiable. Establish a way to assess the progress toward each goal. If a goal cannot be measured, a it cannot be manage. For example, “I want to look better” is not measurable, but “to reduce body fat by 5% in 12 weeks” is measurable.

Attainable

  • Attainable goals are the right mix of goals that are challenging, but not extreme. Goals that are too easily accomplished do not stretch abilities. That said you should be able to reach them.

Realistic

  • To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which an individual is both willing and able to work. A goal is probably realistic if the individual truly believes that it can be accomplished.

Timely

  • A goal should always have a specific date of completion. The date should be realistic, but not too distant in the future. For example, set goals that can be achieved tomorrow and in 3 months.

Effective health and fitness goals stem from the acronym SMART. SMART refers to Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.

  • Specific: A specific goal is one that contains a detailed description of what your want to accomplish; when you want to accomplish it; and the action(s) you will be take to accomplish it.
  • Measurable: Goals need to be quantifiable. If your goal cannot be measured, you cannot manage it. For example, “I want to look better” is not measurable, but “to reduce body fat by 5% in 12 weeks” is measurable.
  • Attainable: Attainable goals are the right mix of goals that are challenging, but not extreme.
  • Realistic: To be realistic, your goal must be something you’re both willing and able to do.
  • Timely: Your goal should always have a specific end date.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.