The New Year is a time when many of us re-dedicate ourselves to, overhaul or ramp up a fitness/nutrition routine. The gym parking lots are packed (I literally drove around, vulturing for a spot at 24 Hour Fitness this week for what seemed like an hour!) and mamas all over the country are buying dumbbell sets and resolving to complete their home workouts during nap time. Have you ever told yourself you were going to “get in shape” on January 1st but found yourself in the same place you were then by the end of the year? If getting in shape is a goal for you this new year, how will you make sure you make that happen for yourself?
This where strategic goal setting comes in – being realistic and specific about what exactly you are hoping to achieve and setting a goal that you can actually measure progress toward and accomplishment of.
A specific goal has a MUCH better chance of being accomplished that a general goal.
Nothing motivates me more than seeing measurable progress toward a fitness goal. I’ve dabbled in lots of different forms of fitness over the years (swimming, running, CrossFit, bodybuilding, cycling, etc.) but the part that keeps me coming back for more is setting, meeting and even surpassing goals I set for myself. From college until age 27 I was a runner, and although I was not winning any awards for speed, I was continually motivated by seeing my times on the track or at a race decrease as a result of my training plans.
At age 28 I found CrossFit and quickly became absolutely addicted to making measurable progress in strength, endurance and gymnastic skills. In CrossFit you keep track of basically everything, from the time it takes you to complete a particular workout, the maximum weight you can dead lift from the floor, the amount of strict pull ups you can complete, etc.
Two things I’ve found helpful when it comes to setting and achieving my fitness goals over the years are:
1) Putting goals out there to a friend/s or family (or even on social media!). There is something about others knowing what you are trying to accomplish that creates instant accountability and motivation to stick to what you said you wanted to do.
2) Using strategic goal setting, such as a SMART goal format to develop and track progress toward goals.
SMART stands for:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Realistic
T – Time-based or Tangible
For example, although certainly realistic and achievable, “I will get in really good shape in 2017” is not specific, measurable or time-based:
- What does “really good shape” mean exactly? What components does this person consider as part of being in shape?
- What is the baseline for for each of those components?
- What would be the indicators of progress toward getting into really good shape?
- How would someone actually know if they met that 2017 goal?
If I had that goal (“I will get in really good shape in 2017” ) for myself (which I do in fact!) I would want to:
a) specifically define the components I personally consider part of being in shape or that I cared to focus on for the year (body fat %, strength,skill, speed, etc.)
b) find my baseline times/weights/numbers for those components
c) set a realistic goal based on my current baseline and what I know to be possible within a year given any physical or time/schedule limitations,
d) make sure that the components I choose to focus on can be tangibly tracked so that I can monitor my progress along the way.
Following this formula, a potential SMART goal for “getting into really good shape” could be:
“By January 1st, 2018 I will be able to run an 8:00 mile on a treadmill, do 10 consecutive push ups, hold a plank for 2 minutes, and have a body fat percentage of 20% or less” (the numbers would of course vary based on a current baseline for mile time, push-ups, planks and body fat).
Or even simpler, “I will join a gym and work out 3 days per week” would be a much more specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-based goal than ” I will get into shape.”
My Fitness SMART Goal for 2017:
I thought I would increase my chances of achieving my own SMART strength and fitness goal for 2017 by sharing it with you:
1. I want to regain some of the strength and fitness capacity I lost during pregnancy and the past 9 postpartum months during which I have not been able to physically lift or exert myself like I used to. In order to set a realistic, achievable goal, I need to consider my baseline times/weights/numbers and also that I have less time than I used to to workout (read about how I still stay motivated as a busy, working mama HERE!). I chose 6 elements to create my strength and fitness goal, so that I can tailor my workouts toward making progress in those areas. My 2017 Fitness SMART Goal is:
““By January 1st, 2018 I will be able to run a 7:30 mile on a treadmill, do 15 consecutive push ups, hold a plank for 3+ minutes, add 50 pounds to my current deadlift and back squat max lifts, and complete 5 consecutive strict pull ups, and workout 3 times per week.”
So, What’s Next?
Once you have your SMART fitness goal/s established, you can create a plan to help you get there.
What are your fitness goals for 2017? I would love to read your goals in the comments! Could you make your goal a SMART one?
Sign up to receive blog updates and a Busy Mama’s Home Workout Plan directly to your inbox to help kickstart your fitness goals: