January is one of the hardest months of the year. We’re feeling the pinch from Christmas, the weather’s terrible, and we’re trying to start the year on a positive note after weeks of overindulging during the festive period. If you’re finding it difficult to stay motivated for your fitness goals in 2020, you’re not alone. Many of us are guilty of setting unrealistic targets and then giving up when we (understandably) struggle to achieve them. If this sounds all-too familiar, then read on for how to meet your fitness targets in 2020 the SMART way.
While the SMART acronym is more commonly applied to achieving in business, it can also be an excellent strategy to use in your personal life and goals. Here’s how:
S – Specific (simple, sensible, significant): This means not giving yourself a vague target. Let’s take the example of improving flexibility. If you give yourself the resolution of ‘I want to be more flexible,’ there is no way of measuring how or when you have achieved this, or in fact what you are even trying to achieve in the first place. Instead, set a specific goal, for example, ‘I want to touch my toes in forward fold.’
M – Measurable (meaningful, motivating): This relates to the specificity of your target again. Being able to touch your toes is a goal you can measure – you’ll know when you have achieved it.
A – Achievable (agreed, attainable): Giving yourself a realistic and attainable way of achieving your goal. One of the most common fitness pitfalls is to assume that you’ll see an improvement overnight and become discouraged when you don’t, or to give yourself an enormous mountain to climb. If your overall goal is improving your flexibility, don’t expect to go from nothing to yoga every single morning at dawn. Instead, use the simple goal of wanting to touch your toes, and break down how you intend to go about that. What about including three spine rolls into your usual exercise routine? Or before bed? Start with an achievable breakdown of how you are going to reach your goal.
R – Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based): We’ve already talked about having a measurable result (i.e. touching your toes) but have you made sure you have everything you need in order to do this? This particular goal is nicely resource-free, and it’s a great first step to achieving what you want if that’s the case. But if your goal is to improve your swimming, is there a local pool? How are you going to manage this alongside your everyday responsibilities? Consider the club fitness facilities to ensure you have everything you need.
T – Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive): When are you going to achieve your goal by? Relating this back to making your target achievable and not expecting immediate results, when is a realistic time for you to have managed to reach your goal?
Remember, often the only thing standing in your way is you. Break down your targets and be SMART about them to see real results.