A new year is upon us, and with that of course comes our New Year’s resolutions. Did you know that only 8% of people actually follow through with their resolutions and complete them? That leaves a whopping 92% of us that do not accomplish what we set out to do in that fresh start of the new year. Why does this happen?

In my opinion, the majority of resolutions fail because they are tied to goals that are often unrealistic and too difficult to attain. As you might have heard, I recently became a Certified Personal Trainer…yay! During my hours of studying and reading, I came across a great acronym tied to goals that I want to share with you today: S.M.A.R.T. Allow me to explain. When setting goals, resolutions, or whatever you would like to call them, it is important that you remember the S.M.A.R.T. method. It breaks down like this:

Aim For Specific Fitness Goals

When you create a goal, try to make it as specific as possible. For example, saying something like “I am going to do more running so I can get in shape” is rather broad. Instead, consider saying something like “I am going to run three days a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday before work.” Being specific with your goal will enable you to stay motivated on a daily basis.

Make Your Fitness Goals Measurable

What does success mean to you? Can you measure it? Perhaps you want to get enough steps on your Fitbit, or maybe you are training by measuring your heart rate during the workout. However you measure your goal, it is important to keep tabs on yourself. From our example above, it’s tough to measure “more running.” Instead, start off with running one mile for your three days. Then consider adding half a mile or even an additional mile. How long did it take you to run the first mile vs the second mile? These are all ways to measure your progress and will be incredibly important as you continue working toward your goal.

Create Attainable Fitness Goals

Since I have created a theme with running in the first two letters of our S.M.A.R.T. acronym, I will stick with that analogy. Let’s say you have never run a day in your life and you say that you want to run a marathon in one month. I am not saying you couldn’t do it, but it would definitely hurt and it would not be what I would call an attainable goal. However, if you did want to run a marathon in your life, perhaps starting with a smaller goal of a 5K would be more realistic. Wildly unattainable goals are great to have, but they need to be long term. Think of your goal as something short term that you can achieve in the amount of time you give yourself, and then once you accomplish that goal, start the process over again with an even bigger goal. The more attainable you make your goal, the faster you can progress.

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Establish Relevant Fitness Goals

Did you run in high school? Do you enjoy running? Is it something you can do with a group of people that are in your life? Establishing goals that are relevant can go a long way for actually accomplishing them. An example of a non-relevant goal would be a person deciding to take up running even though they preferred swimming in high school. Instead of running, perhaps this person should consider saying, “I am out of shape from my swimming days. I think it’s time to hit the pool again!” By focusing on relevant activities that you actually enjoy, your success rate is much higher and you will push your motivation into overdrive!

Create Time-Bound Fitness Goals

How long will it take you to accomplish your goal? The great thing about goals is that the amount of time it takes to reach your goals is completely up to you. As we mentioned before, establishing shorter goals at first might work best for you, but who says you need to have just one goal? Create a short-term goal and a long-term goal or even many micro goals in between, but make sure they are bound to a certain amount of time. Your smaller goals could be 4-12 weeks and your long term goals can be 12-24 weeks.

“I am going to run every day in 2017 like crazy so I can get in better shape and lose some weight.”

Bad Goal Example

“I am going to run three times per week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for at least 30 minutes with a goal of running a 5K in 3 months!”

Good Goal Example!

If you can set S.M.A.R.T. goals for yourself, you will dominate the new year in a specifically measurable and attainable way that is relevant and time bound to guarantee your success! (See what I did there?) Go make this year your year! You got this!

Cory Warren
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Cory Warren

Cory Warren is a husband, father of three, and vegan athlete who helps busy families eat more plant-based foods! His blog, Lean Green DAD, helps over-scheduled, busy people (mostly parents) maintain a healthy balance of plant-based nutrition, fitness, and overall wellness so they can go the extra mile for their families.
Cory Warren
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