Setting a SMART goal is more than just something you think is manageable, a SMART goal has defined parameters. Goal setting is a major piece to the fitness puzzle, It provides you with direction, motivation, and a vision of what you want to achieve.
SPECIFIC – Set a specific goal, for example instead of saying you want to “run better”, focus on a specific piece of the puzzle. For example, running for a longer amount of time (45 minutes instead of 30), or running at a quicker pace (move from 5.0 to 6.5 on the treadmill).
MEASURABLE – by setting a specific goal, you have unknowingly set a goal that is measureable. Staying with the running example, running faster, longer or at an incline are all things that you can track and watch your progress.
ATTAINABLE – Choose a goal that is something you can physically achieve. I have severe arthritis in my knee, I’d love to be able to do higher box jumps, however I know that this isn’t the goal for me. Keeping my quads as strong as possible without high impact is something that is attainable for me.
REALISTIC – Realistic and attainable sound like the same thing, I like to look at “attainable” as big picture. Realistic can be a breakdown of mini goals within that large goal. Small realistic goals are stepping stones to reach that finish line. For example, adding five minutes to your run every two weeks.
TIMELY – give yourself a realistic timeline to accomplish your goal; setting too quick of a time line can set you up for failure.
Remember that the pieces to this puzzle can be adjusted at any time. You can add to your goal, adjust your timeline. Making sure that whatever you adjust is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and can be completed in a timely manner will ultimately lead you to success.
December and January are two months where people often go from 2 different extremes with their nutrition and exercise habits.
In December, many people “slack off” on their workouts and eat whatever they want over the holiday season. In January, people are determined to get back in shape, stick with their diet and continue to exercise regularly 2-3 times per week.
If you are a regular exerciser, remember that completely falling off the wagon by not exercising and throwing your diet away over the holidays can destroy several months of hard training. The less you slack off, the less amount of time it will take to get you back to your pre holiday shape.
If you do not regularly exercise and you are thinking about making that New Year’s resolution to start an exercise plan, think about starting now. In January, there are going to be many new members at fitness clubs that want to start a program. If you want to get a head of the crowd, sign up at the gym now before everyone else does. The holiday season is actually a great time to start a fitness program because gyms are usually quiet. You can establish a routine during your holiday time off without being overwhelmed by the crowd in the New Year. Exercise can help relieve some of the stresses associated with the season.
When it comes to your diet, there is no need to overindulge over the holidays but there is no need to not have fun either. It is perfectly fine to treat yourself now and again but don’t go overboard. Treat your body like a high end sports car and only put the best fuel in your body. If you are looking at making some serous gains in your fitness levels, proper nutrition is key. Eat for performance and not for pleasure.
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