Set your SMART goals today for a healthier, fitter you16.10.20
Get fit. Eat healthily. Go to the gym. We’ve all made these New Year’s resolutions and other vague promises to ourselves, but how often do we actually stick to them? They might last a little while, but without any in-depth understanding of what we want to achieve, it’s easy to fall off the wagon. That’s where SMART goals come in.
What is a SMART goal?
Creating a SMART goal is a more in-depth way of setting challenges or projects for yourself. They can be used for anything, from home improvements to fitness. The letters SMART are an acronym, standing for five important things to incorporate into your targets.
A vague goal is one that is set up to fail. By specifying your targets, you’re able to ask yourself the necessary questions to ensure that you have the resources available to succeed.
- What are you going to do? (How many kilos do you want to lose/gain, how much weight do you want to lift?)
- When are you going to do it? (Gym sessions after work or in the morning? Runs around the park at lunchtime?)
- Where are you going to do it? (Do you need a gym membership? Can you do it at home?
- How are you going to do it? (Do you have an exercise programme you can use?)
- Who are you going to do it with? (Is this a solo venture or will you do it with a friend?)
By asking yourself these questions, you can integrate your goals more easily into your life.
“Get fit” is not a measurable goal. Nor is “get fitter.” To give yourself a real feeling of growth and improvement, you need to find a measurable way to track your progress. This will keep you motivated throughout the process and give you a clear understanding of whether you achieved that goal or not.
For example, rather than setting yourself the goal of “get fitter”, set yourself the SMART goal to add five minutes time onto your morning jog every week for two months until you can job 40 minutes. This means you have a finite target each week, which will help motivate you and keep you on track to hit that 40-minute goal in two months. This is a much easier way to define your overarching goal of increased fitness.
Don’t set yourself up for failure! Whilst a SMART goal should be challenging, it shouldn’t be impossible. There’s nothing more disheartening than telling yourself your goal is to lift a 200kg deadlift in a month when your current personal best (PB) is 75kg.
Instead, choose a measurable way of tracking your improvement, starting off with weights that are right for your body: for example, start with your current deadlift weight and add 2.5kg every two weeks to help build muscle and become stronger. However, it’s important to remember that everyone is different – nobody knows your body and what it is capable of better than you, so make sure you only lift a weight you feel comfortable with.
This might seem obvious, but your goal needs to be relevant to you. Running a half marathon might be your best friend’s ultimate challenge, but if you don’t like jogging and loathe the idea of doing it on a regular basis, then choose a different goal.
You need to be able to see a clear link between your SMART goal and how it will positively impact your life. For example, eating healthier could help clear up your skin, lose weight or feel less lethargic. This will give you more self-confidence and energy in your day to day life – perfect! Or, maybe you want to lose 4 kilos before a wedding you’re attending in the summer and want a nutritious but low-calorie diet until then. Make your SMART goal work for you.
This is perhaps the most important one. Even if you’ve created well-thought-out, specific, measurable, achievable and relevant goals, there is still the real possibility that you’ll give up on it – unless you set yourself a deadline.
Just like hitting deadlines at work or at school, you’re more likely to buckle down and get the work done if there is a tangible date that you want to achieve your goal by. It’s also a good idea to set mini-deadlines within the goal to keep you on track. Remember that the deadline must be achievable as well!
How to use SMART goals for fitness
Making a SMART goal depends first and foremost on you. Ask yourself what, specifically, you want to change, and work backwards from there.
You might want to get stronger. That’s fine, but how will you make that a SMART goal? Work out what muscles you want to work and set out a programme for yourself.
Maybe you want to eat healthier. Great, but what does that mean for you? Will you eat more fruit and vegetables, or cut down on junk food? Maybe you want to cook more or use a meal prep delivery service like KBK to make your life easier.
Let’s have a more detailed look at how you can set SMART goals for yourself.
“I want to be able to run 10k in an hour for my fun run in three months time. My current 10k PB is 70 minutes.”
This is a great example of a SMART goal. You know what you want to do, when you want to do it by, and why it is relevant to you. It’s measurable and (based on the current 10k PB) achievable..
However, to make sure that you set yourself up for success, you’ll need to get into the nitty-gritty of the details. Set mini-deadlines (weekly or fortnightly) to help you maintain motivation and momentum. If you succeed at your goal each week, then you’re much more likely to continue.
You’ll also need to think about how you’re going to train. There are lots of online running programmes, so find one that is relevant to you and your goal. Jot down how many times you’ll run a week, for how long, and how fast.
By using SMART goal principles, your goal of a 10k in one hour is much closer to being a reality!
“I eat too much junk food and not enough healthy food – it makes me lethargic. I want to eat two vegetables a day with my dinner and have a fruit snack every day at work.”
This goal is specific, measurable, achievable and relevant. It isn’t time-bound, however, and making big changes to your diet from one day to the next can be difficult.
To make this goal a little smarter, you could add a deadline for a month’s time. In the month leading up to it, you could have a fruit snack three days a week, then four, then five. Eat two vegetables a day with two meals a week, then four, then six.
This way, your new eating habits will naturally incorporate themselves into your routine. It also helps to avoid cravings or feeling undue guilt for “failing” by eating a chocolate bar.
If you’re busy and don’t have time to get all the right foods every day, then why not try KBK plans? We have a variety of options, from plant-based and vegetarian to Build plans and Stay Lean plans. Our professional chefs have crafted our delicious menus to ensure you get all the nutrients you need without sacrificing on taste.
Try a taster pack today and see how they can help you reach your SMART goals.