Set a New Fitness Goal This Fall: SMART Fitness Goals
The seasons are changing. Summer is universally considered the most popular time to work on your physique, we’re wearing less clothes and spending more time on the beach and on vacations. By the time winter rolls around, the average person can expect to gain a whopping five to seven pounds! This is likely due to a combination of weather changes and holidays centered around eating and drinking - many of us fall off the bandwagon.
If you’re committed to continuing your health and fitness journey, the soon approaching winter can be daunting. But it doesn’t have to be! In fact, the start of a new season is the perfect time to set some new fitness goals. But how can you set and achieve fitness goals when the days get shorter and colder? In this article, we’re going to give you all the tips you need to achieve your fitness goals this fall. Let’s go.
When should you set new fitness goals?
Fall officially starts on September 22 2021. However, most people start switching out their summer wardrobes, ordering pumpkin spice lattes and planning their halloween outfits around the beginning of September. Aiming to establish and set your new fitness goals for fall around this time is going to be a good idea. Plus, it’s the beginning of the final quarter of 2021 - four more months to make the most of 2021.
Before we get into the best way to establish and set realistic and attainable fitness goals, let’s first define what your goal should look like.
What are SMART fitness goals?
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based. SMART goals are:
- Specific - Clear and precise to the point
- Measurable - There is a way to track the progress and attainment of the goal
- Achievable - They are realistic
- Relevant - Achieving the goal will directly help to improve your life
- Time-based - There is a time limit in which the goal needs to be achieved
Based on this, let’s start to map out how you can set SMART fitness goals for more.
How to set a new fitness goal
Stage 1: Brainstorm your health goals
Common health related goals may include getting enough sleep, eating more vegetables, less processed food, clearing up acne or drinking enough water.
Stage 2: Brainstorm your fitness goals
Common health related goals may include losing fat, building muscle, getting stronger, improving flexibility or ‘toning’ up.
Stage 3: Assess your current situation
Regardless of what your goal is, it’s important to consider a few factors:
- Where are you starting from? How far away from the goal are you?
- How much time can you dedicate to this goal?
- Is this a physically possible goal for you? i.e. are you wishing your legs were longer?
- How disciplined are you?
- What is stopping you from reaching this goal currently?
- How motivated are you to make this goal a reality?
So get a piece of paper and write the answers to each of these questions and be truthful with yourself. Once you have done that, you can start creating an action plan.
Stage 4: Create an action plan
Based on the above answers, you’ll know how close to the goal you are. Now is the time you start to set some SMART goals.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say your goal is to lose fat. You may have already lost 20 lbs and you’re now only 10 lbs away from your goal weight. You know that you can dedicate five days per week to working out for one hour and you can spend time each day preparing healthy meals for yourself. You know that you are very disciplined because you’ve already lost 20 lbs, but you are now lacking some motivation to keep going. You have a wedding coming up on December 6 and you want to fit into a dress that used to fit when you were 10 lbs lighter.
So the action plan to achieve the goal should target gaining motivation, because this is the area you’re lacking in.
You can gain motivation by starting to work out with friends, take a fitness class, create or join in on a challenge at your gym, leave the dress out in your room, visualize how happy you’ll feel when you reach that goal. Commit to trying at least one of these things per day and your motivation will increase.
But so far, this isn’t a SMART goal - it’s too vague. Let’s put this goal into the SMART fitness goal framework.
How to make a fitness goal SMART
Following on from the example above, let’s make it a SMART goal:
- Specific - To lose 10 lbs by December 6.
- Measurable - Track weight daily and add into a spreadsheet to get a weekly weight change average.
- Achievable - I will commit to working out five days per week for one hour because this fits into my schedule.
- Relevant - I used to be 10 lbs lighter but fell off the bandwagon due to covid. I know I can achieve this, and will be a lot happier for it.
- Time-based - I have until December 6 to lose 10 lbs.
As you can see, this SMART fitness goal is a lot more clear and precise. In studies, researchers discover that setting SMART goals results in better rates of goal attainment. You’re more likely to feel motivated because your goals are clear. There is no confusion as to what you should be doing and when. So if motivation is what is lacking, take a look into the reasons why it might be lacking - maybe you just don’t know how to achieve your goals?
When it comes to setting realistic health and fitness goals, it’s about doubling down on what you want, and how possible it’s going to be to achieve it. The best way to set and achieve fitness goals is to create SMART goals, start by making small changes, be consistent, and never lose sight of what you want to achieve.
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