Most of us have exercise goals that should help us manage our weight, stay active, and boost our health and wellness. Developing these goals is an important step in beginning or changing your physical activity habits. However, not all goals are created equal.
The Problem with Goal Setting
Sometimes whenever we set goals, we bite off more than we can chew. Or, the goals we set are extremely vague and we have a hard time sticking to them.
For example, saying you will walk more is a great idea, but when a goal is that vague, it will be easier to come up with excuses. Over time, you might wonder if you really have been walking more, or if you haven’t made much progress at all.
SMART Goals are Better
What are SMART Goals?
- (S) – Specific: Select one specific behavior to modify per goal.
- (M) – Measurable: Can you measure this goal against set up a baseline?
- (A) – Attainable: Is the goal attainable? Use action words when writing goals. For example, “I can take a walk each night after dinner,” or “I will drink one less can of soda every day.”
- (R) – Realistic: Do you have realistic and honest expectations of yourself with your time, body, and likes/dislikes?
- (T) – Timely: Is your timeline for modifications reasonable and manageable?
The FITT Principle:
- (F) – Frequency: How often will you exercise?
- (I) – Intensity: How hard are you going to exercise?
- (T) – Type: What sort of exercise will you do?
- (T) – Time: Just how long will you exercise?
Key Things to Remember
SMART goals that follow the FITT Principle are clearly defined and simply let you know if you are staying on the right track. However, don’t make the mistake of over-complicating your exercise goals. They must be simple, realistic, and most of all… fun! If you don’t enjoy the exercise you do, the harder it will be to stay consistent and meet your purpose.