Setting goals is so important, not only in regards to health and fitness but in life in general. Without them, we go through life in a state of contentment. There are a multitude of different types of goals; long term, short term, personal, professional. The most important thing about goals is to set SMART Goals. Below I will break this down.
SMART stands for;
Specific: Your goal should be as specific as possible. It needs to be precise enough to be able to judge if you have hit it. It should answer WHAT is your goal. HOW often or HOW much.
Measurable: How will you measure your goal? Setting measurable goals will give you specific feedback and hold you accountable.
Attainable: Your goals should push you and be challenging however you need to be able to realistically achieve these goals.
Realistic: Is the goal and timeline realistic?
Timely: Do you have a timeline? A timeline keeps you accountable and provides motivation.
Different resources will give you different answers on what a short term goal time frame is. Some say one week, some say one year. To me a short term goal is something that must be accomplished prior to completing a long term goal. A long term goal then is the sum of multiple short term goals. This is why I love the idea of goal pyramids. Below is the template and an example of how I like to set goals.
This template places at the top the long term - or final - goal. The goal set is specific, measurable, and has a set time table. If the short term goals are followed the goal is also realistic and attainable.
I have found that writing goals down, or having photos of goals up is a great tool to use to keep you motivated. If weight
loss is a goal, keep a photo near you of that swim suit you want to get into, the legs you want to have. If running a 5k is a goal keep a picture of someone crossing that finish line near by. By having those reminders you are more likely to be reminded of why this goal is important to you.
Remember there will always be reasons that you can't. Set backs are bound to happen. I love the quote "Some say RESILIENCE is to bounce back from adversity. I say that you land at a higher place!" - R. Tew. Use these setbacks as a learning experience. Don't allow them to hold you back. Take what you learn and come back better, stronger.
Sharing your goals with others also helps keep you accountable. They can help keep you on pace and often you will not want others to see you fail.