Ok, so in the previous post we worked out what you want to achieve, and dug deep into the meaningful reasons why you would like to achieve your goals.
In part two of our Plan for Success series, we’re going to look at goal setting and making achievable exercise goals that you can use to plan your attack with your health, fitness and weight loss changes.
If any of you have ever used goal setting techniques before one you’ve probably heard of is called the smart principle. The smart principle is basically using an acronym SMART, which stands for Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant and having a Time frame.
The smart principle is widely used in business and economics world’s but it also applies really well in setting exercise or health related plans.
Firstly we need to choose a specific task. Choosing things that are random like “I want to be active” isn’t narrow enough for us to actually put it into practice, so we need to choose something we can actually see and do, for example, going for a walk.
The second step is to somehow measure the specific activity that we have chosen.
In exercise, this could be the duration, the frequency, or perhaps the intensity of your activity.
I will walk 4 days this week.
Or as in other health tasks
I will eat 5 healthy dinners this week.
The reason why we need to measure something is to make sure we are actually on the right track and we can see our progress. If we’re not measuring it we could just be floundering and doing the same thing day in and day out without even realising it.
Creating an achievable goal is where we get success.
If we choose a goal that is too difficult we’re setting ourselves up to fail. Feeling like we are failing makes us throw our hands up in the air and stop trying – as it is too far out of reach.
On the other hand when choosing a goal that is too easy to complete, we don’t give ourselves enough credit when we have succeeded – and therefore don’t give the activity enough merit.
To identify if the goal or activity that we’ve chosen is achievable we can use a confident scale of 1 to 10 (1 = no confidence, 10 = highly confident) if we choose a goal that is less than 6 it’s unlikely that it’s an achievable task. If we choose a goal that’s more than 8 is likely too easy to achieve.
Checking if the task we have set is relevant is the next step.
Basically it’s just reassessing that our specific task (how many workouts per week or the length of time we are training) is actually relevant to our reason for being active or making our health change.
For example, if you’ve got the goal to get stronger and the specific task is to walk for 10 minutes 3 days a week, it’s not actually a relevant task to achieve the goal of getting stronger. Another example could be that you’re wanting to burn some energy and lose weight, yet chosen a task like Pilates or yoga – which is more stretch focused as opposed to weight loss (ie doesn’t burn as much energy as going for a run).
And finally we need to set a time frame.
We set time frames to make sure we’re actually heading in the right direction and working toward our goal. If we set a time frame that is too short, we are unable to actually put our activity in place (and set ourselves up to fail) or if the time frame is too far away we don’t hold it with enough worth (and we wait till the last minute to get started) losing a whole bunch of time that could be used to get us to were we want to be sooner!
to put it all together, a simple SMART goal could be to:
S = walk
M = 5x 30mins per week
A = 7/10 confidence
R = Yes, it is relevant to the goal of being healthy
T = aim to achieve and reset the goal at 6wks
Give it a go – write down your own SMART goal – if you stick to it, and set new goals along the way – you can achieve anything!!