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Health and Fitness News

Be a Goal-Setter

How to set and reach your goals.

How many times have you set fitness goals you never reached? Maybe it was a New Year’s resolution or a dream to run a 5K, lose 50 pounds, or bench press 150 pounds. Whatever your goal, you thought you had what it took to get there. With a little hard work, self-discipline, and early morning workouts, you’d reach your goal eventually, right? Yes, you probably would.

Unfortunately, most people never reach their fitness goals. And while that may be due to someone giving up, the problem isn’t always with the person. Sometimes, the problem lies with the goal itself.

Increase your chance of running that race, losing that weight, or reaching your personal best by being smart about the goals you set. To remember the basics of setting a goal, think of the helpful acronym SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

Specific

First, determine what you’re trying to accomplish. Make your goal something clearly defined and simple to understand. A goal to “improve your health” or “get in shape” is too vague. Explain what you mean by “health” or “in shape.”

This could mean losing five percent of your weight or being able to run a mile in under 10 minutes. When you’re setting a fitness goal, focus on one goal at a time. Trying to do too much at one time can overwhelm you to the point of giving up.

Measurable

As you set a new goal, make it measurable. What methods will you use to track your progress? How will you know that you’ve reached the finish line? A goal that’s measurable means there are numbers involved so you have a simple way to track progress. Keep records of your workouts using an app or pen and paper. Seeing your progress is a great way to stay motivated.

Measurable goals could be to do 50 push-ups at once, to lower your blood pressure by 10 mm Hg, or to exercise 30 minutes a day for five days a week.

Attainable

You may need to lose 100 pounds, but getting there could take a while. You’re much more likely to eventually lose those 100 pounds if you set smaller, more attainable goals to get there. So start with 10 pounds. When you reach that goal, you’ll be motivated to lose another 10.

Your dream may be to run a marathon, but you haven’t ran a mile in years. Set a goal to run a 5K, then a 10K, then a half marathon, and someday a full 26.2 miles. Your progress will spur you on to greater lengths.

Relevant

A trainer, spouse, or television ad may tell you what they think your fitness goal should be, but you won’t feel motivated to work toward someone else’s goal. Goals should be relevant to who you are and where you are in life. Don’t feel pressured to reach a goal that’s not yours. Otherwise, you probably won’t reach it.

You know that weight lifting is good for you, but if that’s not where your heart is, then spend your time doing an exercise you enjoy. If you’ve been discouraged by weight-loss goals in the past, set a goal to be more active and stop stepping on the scale.

Time-Bound

Give yourself a deadline. Otherwise your goal could take years to reach and you’ll likely give up before you reach it. Whether it’s a month, three months, or six months, knowing you have an end date in mind helps keep you focused and on track. Along with a deadline, plan for some sort of reward when you get there.