By: Angela Ciroalo
The New Year has arrived. A new year brings forth new opportunity, new energy, new focus. Maybe this is the year you will achieve the fitness goals that you have been dreaming about.
The goals that seem so close, yet so far away. The ones that you envision when you see photos of others finishing a half marathon, losing 10 pounds, or regaining their health.
Yes, these goals. The goals that you can achieve, however it seems that every time you take a step forward to achieve 10 things get in the way preventing your goals from becoming a reality. Well, maybe, just maybe this years is your years. With just a little bit of planning, some strategy, and will power – you will accomplish your goal. I am not saying that is going to be easy. What I am saying is that you can do it and it will be worth it.
Recognizing Where You Are
When selecting your fitness goal begin by first taking a moment to assess your current fitness level and ability. Recognize where you are before you determine where you are going.
If you would like to run a marathon but you have never run more than five minutes we may need to start with a slightly smaller goal in an effort to work towards your ultimate goal.
If you are a previous runner and you would like to beat your fastest marathon finishing time from five years ago but you haven’t run in the past three months you may want to start fresh and work your way up to a strong base before beginning any marathon training.
If you want to surpass your highest squat weight lifted back in high school but you haven’t done a squat in over a year you may want to begin by focusing on your range of motion and squat form before adding any weight.
If you want to lose the 30 pounds you gained since college over 10 years ago you may want to take into consideration all of the changes that your body has underwent and determine a more realistic weight for yourself, your body, and your lifestyle.
Setting Your Goal
Goals can range from small, to large, to enormous. All goals hold value and have meaning. The key to setting goals is simplifying them. Breaking them down into achievable and realistic steps. Reshaping a large goal into mini micro goals and selecting a realistic timeframe for completion.
A common flaw that occurs when selecting a goal is that a very broad goal is chosen without much reflection, anticipation, specificity or passion. “I want to run a half marathon.” This goal is fine, but there is much more to this story. If you truly want to achieve your 2018 goals let’s be SMART about it.
SMART goals stand for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound Goals.
Specific: Let’s take the, “I want to run a half marathon” goal. This goal is great. However, it is not very specific.
When do you want to run a half marathon? Where will the race take place? What time do you want to finish the race in?
How can you achieve a goal if you are not sure exactly what you are working towards?
Get specific about the goal you would like to achieve. The tips below will help you make this possible.
Measurable: When selecting your goal determine how you will measure this goal to determine the progress that you are making along the way.
For example, will you check in weekly with yourself to determine the weight you have lost, the miles you have ran, the amount of times you have gone to the gym, the amount of weight you lifted that week.
Determine how will you measure your progress and how often will you measure it.
For some it may be beneficial to create a daily, weekly or monthly reminder.
You can also reach out to a friend and ask them to hold you accountable. Or, ask a few friends if they would like to join in. Make your goal into a fun and motivating activity that you can look forward to achieving, not one that you dread or gives you anxiety over.
Achievable: When choosing your goal determine why you would like to achieve this goal.
What does this goal mean to you? And if achieved, how would you feel about it?
More often than not we choose goals without taking into consideration the steps that it will take to accomplish them. We fail to consider the hard work, dedication, sleepless nights, early mornings, and commitment that is required to achieve a goal.
Recognizing the value of your goal can serve as a motivator when times get tough.
Visualize yourself achieving your goal. Think about how this will make you feel, what it will look like and how your life will differ. Remember these thoughts every time you want to sleep in, skip your workout, eat a second piece of cake, or veer away from plan.
Realistic: Is the goal that you have selected within reach? Is this a goal that you may be able to achieve within the next several months or will this goal take more time?
Whatever the response may be, recognize the reality of what is required in attaining this goal.
Losing 30 pounds is no walk in the park. Weight loss takes time.
Running a marathon four hours is not similar to running your first k race. Developing endurance takes time.
Creating a consistent exercise routine involves opposition, struggle, defeat and commitment. Consistency takes time.
All goals are attainable, however one must recognize the reality of their goal. Determine realistically how long it will take to achieve this goal, how often you will be required to prepare for it each week, how much time you will need to dedicate to it, and finally how you will overcome the hurdles that will get in your way.
When setting realistic goals, it is also possible to create smaller micro-goals. These goals can be accomplished weekly or monthly. They will ultimately lead towards your overall goal while offering a sense of accomplishment and achievement along the way.
Time-bound: When will you achieve your goal by?
In the case of the half marathon race goal determine what the date of the race will be.
If you would like to lose weight choose a date on the calendar that you would like to lose the specific amount of weight by.
If you would like to lift a certain amount of weight, be specific about the exercise, the weight, and the date you will achieve this goal by.
The completion date is very significant in that it forces you to move forward in achieving your goal, measuring your progress, and being aware of any potential setbacks that may interfere with the end result.
An example of SMART goal would be: “I want to run a half marathon in 1:30 by Saturday, May 19, 2018. I want to achieve this goal because I enjoy running and believe that I am capable of running at this speed. I am aware of the weekly commitments that are involved and will check in each week to assess my progress. If any setbacks get in my way I will move forward with my efforts.”
The Equation for a Successful 2018 Goal
Specific Goal + Quantifiable Amount + Completion Date + Reason Why + Plan of Action + Eliminate Setbacks + Checkpoints = Success!
What will you accomplish in 2018?