In the spring, many of us want to get back into shape or lose a few pounds. But be careful, because this is also the time of year when it’s easy to fall into the trap of dieting and extreme sports programs, which seem to appear as quickly as blossoms do!
Rather than looking for quick, temporary results, instead you should get SMART! Discover this method, which is recognized for its effectiveness and suitable for everyone.
Setting Your SMART Objectives
A SMART objective is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and based on a specific period of Time. Whether you want to run a 10K, sign up for an extreme obstacle course, lose weight, or just simply get back to a healthy, active lifestyle, it’s important to begin a process of change by setting simple, clear, and specific goals. This is also a key element to motivating yourself throughout the process in order to optimize your results. You can easily validate small victories, rather than getting discouraged by slow results that don’t necessary show every day.
S for Specific
“Specific” means setting detailed, focused goals. You need to be able to explain your objectives (with simple questions such as What, Why, Who and Where?) and how you intend to reach them. Want to lose 20 kg? You’ll surely get there after a few years, but it would be more appropriate to set an objective of 2-3 kg a month.
Example: I want to lose 5 kg in eight weeks by working out in a gym. I will work out at least three times a week, on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday mornings.
M for Measurable
Goals need to be measurable or quantifiable. Becoming a “better runner” or “losing weight” leaves much to interpretation. It’s preferable to choose a method of direct measurement that will answer the question “How much?”
Example: I will get my body weight, body fat percentage, and waist size measured before starting a workout program to lose weight. In four weeks, I will follow up on these measurements to evaluate my progress.
A for Attainable
Is losing 5 kg in 30 days an attainable goal? Sure, it’s an ambitious goal, but you may get discouraged before even the first week is up. An attainable goal should keep you motivated while also providing the tools and support you need to accomplish it.
Example: I will reach my weight loss objective by working out three times a week for 90 minutes and changing my eating habits. I will see a kinesiologist to find help in reaching my physical goals and a nutritionist to improve my eating habits.
R for Realistic
You need to be honest with yourself. You should be realistic in your approach, and it’s important to determine if you have the skills, tools, and ability you need to reach your goal. If you’ve previously failed in reaching the same goal, you should reassess the time period needed and remain realistic.
Example: In the past, I’ve managed to lose 5 kg in eight weeks, so this is a realistic goal. Also, my work schedule lets me devote 60 to 90 minutes to each of my three workout sessions.
T for Time
Losing 20 kg in a year is anything but an objective that can be measured in time. Integrating the notion of time into your goals allows you to measure your progress toward your goal. If you’re going to invest so much time and effort towards a goal, you should also make sure to monitor your progress along the way and regularly reevaluate whether your timeframe should be adjusted.
Example: I want to reach my weight loss goal in eight weeks. I will monitor my progress in the second, fourth, and eighth week, and allow myself more time if I am not reaching my goal as quickly as I hoped.
Take a close look at your objectives and make sure they’re SMART. This is a crucial step to reaching your personal goals. Integrating this approach into your lifestyle will help you to reach and keep a healthy weight, a positive self-image. It will even boost your energy daily and reinforce your musculoskeletal system to prevent injury. Put all your chances on your side and get SMART!