SMART New Year’s Resolution Goal Setting

Many people start the New Year with grand plans of drastically changing their lifestyle to improve their health and fitness with outlandish New Year’s resolution goal setting. However these resolutions often last no longer than a week as they are goals which are unrealistic, difficult to manage or simply unachievable. Here we will discuss the SMART strategy for successful goal setting which you can apply for this years New Year resolution or to any goal setting task any time of year.

S = Specific

Make your goal specific in nature, rather than a general overall goal. To do this you need to outline specific targets to achieve within your goal. For example a general goal may be to “start running regularly” which does not outline any specific details or targets to achieve. A more specific goal would be “go jogging 3 times per week and run 10km by April”.

M = Measurable

When setting your goal, you need to set objective, measurable targets to check your progress along the way. An example of this would be to set some milestone progressions towards your overall goal. If your goal is to be able to swim 2km twice per week by March, you could keep a diary recording how often you have gone swimming each week and how far you swam each time. You can also set targets such as swimming 500m twice per week for the first two weeks, then slowly increasing this amount every two weeks.

A = Attainable

Identifying the steps towards achieving a goal makes it far more attainable. To do this you need to make a list of the process you need to go through to achieve the overall goal. For example a goal such as “going to the gym three times per week” would involve identifying the things you need to have in place to achieve this such as purchasing a gym membership, creating time in your schedule to get to the gym and committing yourself to completing the task on a regular basis.

R = Realistic

A realistic goal is one which you know you are willing and able to achieve. By no means does this does not mean you need to set the bar low, but you must first work out whether the goal is attainable and then ensure you have the motivation to make it realistic.

T = Timely

No matter what sort of goal you set, it should have a time frame attached to it so there is at least some sense of urgency to achieve it. Simply saying that you want to lose 3kg as a goal does not identify when you want to achieve this by. Following the SMART goals strategy the goal of “losing 3kg by September” ensures that there is a commitment to achieving this goal in a set time period.

Written By Jack Hickey
Exercise Physiologist at MD Health Pilates

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