Setting goals is a way to give your exercise program more focus and meaning. You can have one ultimate goal, but you need many mini goals to help you achieve the ultimate goal. Setting and achieving goals are a way to boost your motivation and self-esteem. Also, goals give you a reason to reward yourself for your hard work. Learning the proper way to set goals is just like learning the proper way to exercise. You need to understand the S.M.A.R.T way to set goals.
Specific: Do not just say I want to work out more!. That is too vague for a good goal. Your goal should be a set workout program so you know what you are working on improving. You should set what days you plan on working out and what exercising you plan on doing each day.
Measurable: You now need a way to track your specific goal. There is no confusion if you say I will work out 5 days a week or I will complete 30 minutes each workout session.
Attainable: When you set a goal, ask yourself Is this goal attainable?. When you begin an exercise program, setting a goal of working out 1 hour every day or competing in a marathon would be examples of unrealistic goals. When setting goals you need to set many mini goals to equal a major goal.
Reward: Having a reward tied to your goal will give you additional motivation. You will need to make sure you chose a positive reward. Do not use your reward to eat poorly. A good reward is getting something that will help you achieve your ultimate goal.
Time frame: Additional motivation to achieve your goal is to set a date. Knowing you need to achieve your goal in a month will help you stay consistent with your exercise.
An example of a S.M.A.R.T goal setting:
- Specific: I want to complete four 5K races in a year.
- Measurable: Follow a detailed 5K training programs.
- Attainable: Start off walking the first 5K race and progress with the 5K training program to be able to jog the last 5K.
- Reward: As you accomplish each 5K race reward yourself with new workout shoes and clothes.
- Time Frame: Training and completing a 5K race every two and half months will give you time frame to achieve your goal.