“I want to lose weight.”
“I want to build muscle.”
“I want to run faster… and further.”
These are all common goals that people set when they embark on their journey to improved fitness. And they’re all perfectly justified.
I mean, who doesn’t want to have a lean and strong body? We’d be able to perform basic functions more easily and push ourselves to greater heights in our fitness endeavours.
However, all of these goals fail at actually being goals. They all suffer from a very big problem.
They're not SMART.
This isn’t to say that the people who set them aren’t smart themselves. What I am saying though is that these goals in particular do not adhere to SMART methodology.
What are SMART goals?
Officially coined and published in the 1981 issue of the Management Review, SMART is an acronym and goal-setting tool. Each letter stands for a specific word which gives people criteria that they can use to set and evaluate effective goals:
- Specific: Does the goal answer the 5 Ws (Who, What, Where, When, Why)?
- Measurable: How will you measure progress towards achieving this goal?
- Attainable: Are you willing and able to reach this goal?
- Relevant: Does this goal really matter to you?
- Time-bound: When do you want to achieve the goal?
In essence, the SMART methodology turns hazy ambitions into well-defined and actionable goals. Clear goals are much easier to envision and create a plan around, which puts you in a much more advantageous position to actually achieve them.
Applying the SMART methodology
If we applied the SMART methodology to the three goals that we initially outlined, we could transform them into something like this:
"I want to lose X kilograms by my wedding in February 2016."
“I want to join a gym and commit to a strength-training programme four times per week for the next three months.”
“I want to be able to run five-minute kilometres in time for my fun run race next March.”
As you can see, applying the SMART methodology to goal-setting has made these goals much clearer. You can actually picture them in your mind, and the goals themselves point you in the direction of what you need to do next.
Although setting strong SMART goals require you to sit down and really think about what you want, view this time as an investment.
So what fitness goals have you set for yourself? Are they simply goals, or are they SMART goals?