How To Meet Your Fitness Goals In 2017

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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.

The cardio years.

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.

Scary lifting face but, hey, that’s a lot of weight!

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? 

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14 thoughts on “How To Meet Your Fitness Goals In 2017

  1. I love this post! I’m a big believer in setting specific, measurable goals. It’s so much more rewarding to put a check mark next to goals as you accomplish them than trying to figure out when you’ve actually met an arbitrary goal. My goals for 2017 are to: (1) Complete Kayla Itsines 12 week BBG program, (2) Read 2 parenting books, (3) Travel somewhere outside the US, (4) Go on a monthly date night with my husband, (5) Visit my grandma 1x/week, (6) Find a church in our area that has teaching resources for our toddler, (7) Sign toddler up for swimming lessons, and (8) Get our finances in order (the specific of which are long and boring so I won’t post here)

    1. I LOVE your specific goals! You’ve inspired me to specify my goals for areas of life other than fitness as well. Your goals seem accomplishable within a year’s time, but with the intentionality that your goal setting provides. Great job, Betty : )

  2. I’m already falling behind on my health goals – probably because I didn’t make SMART goals like I did for the other areas of my life.

    1. It’s so easy to put our fitness and health goals behind all the rest, isn’t it? I basically have to treat mine like a job if I want to get them accomplished. Thank you for reading, Rochelle!

  3. I love SMART goals! I use these with my clients. It’s so helpful to have something measurable and concrete to work toward, and smaller action steps help keep me motivated

    1. Totally! My career is in the field of Special Education and we essentially use SMART goals for our students too. I agree, the smaller benchmarks are super motivating. Thank you for reading, Kate!

    1. My pleasure, Tina! Being specific keeps me from feeling overwhelmed with feeling like there is too much to accomplish. Best of luck with your goals!

  4. I have thinking about my goals for fitness this year. yeah I know I’m 2 weeks late on the whole ‘goal’ thing. Anyway, I wanted mine to be SMART but simple. I didn’t think about telling my friends my goals so that they could help me be accountable. Thank you for that tip.

    1. Better two weeks late than never, girl! There really is something about telling a friend what you are aiming for that creates motivation and accountability – it’s a must for me. Best of luck in creating your goals and smashing them!!

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