Active-Steps-SMART-Ways-to-Reach-Your-Fitness-Goals

Active Steps: SMART Ways to Reach Your Fitness Goals

When December rolls around, we start to think about changes we can make in the New Year to come. For many, this means setting goals for a new fitness regime or a new diet to help shed the extra pounds from the holidays. Unfortunately, many those new goals are abandoned within a couple of weeks. Setting SMART goals can help you keep and achieve those goals.

SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Forming goals with these guidelines in mind can help keep you on track to attain your new year's resolutions.

1. Specific
Rather than setting a general goal (ex."I'm going to get healthy"), be more specific. Say how you want to get healthy. For example, "I'm going to quit smoking" or "I am going to make it to the gym twice a week." These are more defined goals.

2. Measurable
Being able to measure your progress towards achieving your goal is important. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, you should set a specific weight so you know when you've achieved that goal.

3. Attainable
Setting a goal that is reasonable is the best way to avoid setting yourself up for failure when trying to achieve your resolution. Setting extreme goals may result in losing motivation quickly because it feels like the goal is impossible. It is unrealistic to lose 30 pounds in three months; but if 30 pounds is your goal, it is attainable to accomplish losing 5% over the course of three months and continue from that point.

4. Relevant
Working towards a goal that is relevant to you will help you stay motivated. If you set a goal that is more important to someone else than to you, motivation to achieve this goal will be lost quickly. Try setting a goal that is rewarding for you.

5. Timely
Adding a time cap onto your goal can help create an end point to work towards. When time-bounding your goal, make sure it is reasonable. For example, "I will lose 5% of my body weight in 3 months."

Whether your goal is to lose weight or to quit smoking, make it a SMART goal to give yourself you a greater chance of achieving that goal. Using SMART goals will help you finish out strong to accomplish a better you.

By Elisabet Trujillo, Tulane Dietetic Intern
December 2018

Topics:   diet , food environment , nutrition , obesity , physical activity , wellness

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