Do you have health and fitness goals for 2018? Are you going to exercise more? Eat more vegetables? Drop a few pounds? If you’ve had difficulty meeting goals in the past you should try SMART goal setting. SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

In the fitness industry, we find people have struggled achieving their goals because they were vague. We often hear people set the goal of “be fit” or “get healthy”. The problem with this goal is that it isn’t specific enough to know if it has been met. A goal to lose  two pounds a month is specific. Go to bed 30-minutes earlier than normal in order to wake-up 30-minutes earlier to fit in exercise is another example of a specific goal. There should be detail in your goal.

Measurable goals allow us to celebrate success when we meet them. If you want to run faster you could consider the goal, “I want to take 15-seconds off my fastest 5k.” Measurable fitness goals usually include a reference to time, speed, distance or resistance. Holding a plank for 60-seconds is measurable as is running  one mile in ten minutes.

Lofty goals may be worth considering for the long term but making goals attainable will set you up for success. Alternatively, if goals are too easy they may not be motivating enough. Attainable goals are challenging enough to help keep us on track but not so overwhelming to give-up on. An example of attainable may be, “I will meet with a personal trainer once a week for six months.”

Making goals relevant to your life assures the actions are important to you. Just because a friend wants you to join them in training for a marathon doesn’t mean it’s something you should do. We decide to set and strive for goals when they are our own and when the goal is important enough. Maybe training for a marathon will be something that becomes personally important to you in the future, but not right now. Taking the time to reflect on how relevant the goal is to your life will increase the likelihood of meeting it.

Lastly, commit to setting a time-bound goal. There’s nothing like a deadline to keep you focused on the task at hand. A long-term goal could be to lose twenty pounds by December 1, 2018 while a short-term goal may be to walk four miles by the end of this week. Time-bound goals can be put on the calendar and referenced daily to assess progress.

SMART goals will provide a road map for achievement. Share your health and fitness goals with your friends and family so they can support you along the way. Hiring a personal trainer or strength coach can add accountability and structure to your journey. I hope you enjoy your journey to health and fitness in 2018!


Aaron Shaw is an Occupational Therapist, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and founder of MoveMend in Madison Valley. Contact him at 206-641-7733 or visit www.MoveMend.info