goal setting

Setting goals to ensure success!

When we think of setting goals , particularly regarding health and fitness, we think of where we want to be. A number, a weight, a clothing size, a waist measurement. Sure, these are the things we desire and hope to achieve but they are not goals. They are outcomes. Having an outcome instead of a goal is like having a destination for a road trip without a map. Sure you might get there eventually but odds are you will end up a bit lost. For a goal to be successful it should follow the SMART acronym. That is, it should be;

1. Specific
2. Measureable
3. Action oriented
3. Realistic
4. Time based

Your goal should be designed with structure to give you the best chance of achieving your outcome. Let’s think of a pretty common statement after the festive season “I just would like to lose 5 kilos” and turn that into a goal.

Firstly let’s get REALISTIC, do you have 5kgs to lose? If so, how long are giving yourself to lose it? 5kgs in a week is not realistic. 5kgs in about 4-6weeks would be recommended by most health professionals. Now we have our TIME as well.

Now let’s talk about how, that’s the ACTION part.
“I would like to” becomes “I am going to lose 5kg by …..”
We know the best way to lose fat is to do 1hr of cardiovascular exercise everyday as well as 3 bouts of resistance exercise per week. As well as reducing our calories so maybe a trip to the dietitian is in order. They know best.

Now you have to get SPECIFC. When are you exercising? Is it a walk every morning? Is it a session on the rower at the gym? Is it going for a surf? Or is it all of the above? Who are you doing it with? You are 60% more likely to maintain a program if you do it with a buddy.

How are you MEASURING your actions? You are doing cardio every day for 60mins, your are doing your 3 sessions of resistance exercise, you will probably be able to count your fruit and vegie intake (2serves of fruit and 5 of vegies is recommended) and this will give you your 5kg weight loss.

So, in the end our goal of “I want to lose 5kg” has become “I am going to lose 5kg over the next 5-6weeks by going for a bike ride with Jess every morning at 6am before work and doing the body weight circuit from Fully Fit February every second day. I will make an appointment with a dietitian to review my diet and receive the appropriate recommendations. I will re-evaluate every week to make sure I am following my goals and if not I will assess my barriers to make them more achievable.”  A bit long winded but full of positive affirmations and defined actions.

Being able to review what you have done is crucial which is why you need to be specific. If you are on a road trip it good to be able to look at your ma and see where your wrong turn was and get back on the highway.

Happy Planning and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Tim Douge – Exercise Physiologist at Iridium Health
for Fully Fit Feb


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