Author: Benjamin Harrell
What goals did you set out to accomplish in 2019? Did you finish? If not, you aren’t alone. Only 8% of people fully achieve their goals for the new year. For many, their goals don’t materialize because they didn’t have a way to keep themselves accountable! This year we are going to make the change and break the cycle of unpreparedness.
Challenge your wellness goals to make sure they pass the SMART test. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Setting effective goals are key to measuring your progress. Read below to make sure your New Year resolution is a SMART one! Use “I will exercise more this year by going to the gym three times a week for eight weeks” as the example goal to use when following the SMART path below.
The more specific the goal, the better. A broad goal leaves room for confusion on how to reach your goal. For instance, simply promising to exercise more this year doesn’t give much instruction on what you’ll be doing. Specify your goal into a refined statement that gives what you’ll be doing and when/how often. “I will exercise more this year by going to the gym three times a week for eight weeks” is a more specific goal. It explains what the goal is, how the goal is being worked on, and how often it will be worked on! You can get even more specific by specifying a minimum time you have to exercise in each session.
In order to track change, goals should be able to be measured over a period of time. Measurements can be direct, like a pass-fail system, or a sliding scale (such as 1 – 10). Assessing your progress throughout the process lets you make necessary changes on the fly. In the example “I will exercise more this year by going to the gym three times a week for eight weeks”, can be tracked each day you go to the gym. At the end of the week, you can easily measure if you’ve gone at least three out of the five days!
When creating goals, make sure they’re able to be accomplished given your current resources and circumstances. You may need to reevaluate how quickly or often the goal needs to be accomplished to fit your schedule. In the example “I will exercise more this year by going to the gym three times a week for eight weeks”, think about everything you currently do in a week. Do you have availability in your schedule to go that often? Are there activities you can substitute? If the current goal impossible, respecify to make it attainable.
The surest way to fall short of your goal is to make it unrealistic. Starting small and working your way up will boost your motivation as you set harder objectives. Think back to the “I will exercise more this year by going to the gym three times a week for eight weeks” example. Immediately running on the treadmill for five miles after spending years on the couch isn’t as easy as you think. Running for one mile could be a better place to start!
Setting an end date to your goals not only helps it by creating urgency. With no start or end date, what is motivating you to begin today? In “I will exercise more this year by going to the gym three times a week for eight weeks”, you know you only have the next eight weeks to accomplish this goal, or else you have to start over! Time tables also simplify your fitness goal; you only need to focus on completing the gym workout to check off exercise from your wellness goals!
Use the SMART method when you plan for wellness goals for the next few months! If you need some help, consider signing up for a complimentary Wellness consultation with Renee, SwimRVA Wellness Program Manager. She’ll work with you to plan out where you want your health to be and how to get there. Email Renee, or stop by the front desk for more information.
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