Want results? Train SMART!

Ever wondered why you don’t achieve the fitness goals you set yourself?  It can get so frustrating can’t it? We find ourselves in that vicious cycle of “I’ll start again on Monday…” but by Thursday we’ve had a kingsize bar of Dairy Milk and a bottle of wine. By Friday we tell ourselves; “I might as well just throw in the towel and have what I fancy now, I blew it last night and now it’s the weekend anyway!” May I suggest to you that you’re not actually failing to meet your goal… You’re just not setting the right goal in the first place. Anyone who has been on a training course at work will have probably come across the acronym SMART. Can I let you into a secret!? SMART goals are actually pretty smart. Making your goals SMART will exponentially increase your chances of achieving them! Let’s remind ourselves how to set these goals and think about how they might help us when it comes to being fitter, healthier and happier. For each letter we’ll take a look at an example to help you when setting your goals. S= Specific!  If your goals are too general you’ll find it much more difficult to achieve them.  My goal is to eat healthier. Whose idea of healthy? What about portion sizes? Do you mean every day or just weekends?  My goal is to cut out all sweet treats and wine from Monday to Friday. M= Measurable! If you can’t keep track of your goal how do you know if you’re on the way to achieving it? My goal is to run more. How much more? At what intensity? How often? My goal is to run 10k every week for the next four weeks. I can run this in whatever chunks I like and will keep a record of my runs. A= Achievable If you set yourself a goal which isn’t achievable; you are setting yourself up to fail! This is far more likely to result in you feeling despondent and negative about yourself. My goal is to lose four stones in four months. Really? A stone every month is a huge ask unless you have masses of weight to lose and are on a very strict regime with lots of support! Even if it was an achievable feat it is still going to feel pretty intimidating at the start of that journey. My goal is to lose 2-3 pounds every week until I reach a healthy weight. I will weigh myself at the same time every week and keep a record of my progress. R= Realistic Setting ourselves unrealistic goals piles the pressure on and also makes it difficult for us to achieve the goal at all! My goal is to run a half marathon in less than 90 minutes. For most people this would be an incredibly difficult ask! It would involve masses of training, perfect nutrition and a big time commitment. My goal is to continually improve the time it takes me to run a mile. I will keep track of my runs and set a realistic time for me to run a half marathon, based on my progress and nobody elses! T= Timed Time frames are so important when setting goals. They help keep us accountable to ourselves and mean we can monitor our progress. My goal is to join in more exercise classes online soon. How soon? How many classes? When will you start this? My goal is that by August  I will be participating in three weekly online fitness classes each week. By December I will have increased this to five classes each week. “Make all your fitness and health-related goals SMART and I promise you will see results! Sometimes it requires you asking yourself some tough questions and making some tough commitments, but it will be worth it when you achieve your goal and can move onto the next one!” Written by Sarah Hughes

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