Goal Setting: The SMART Way
- What specific activities will you be doing?
- When are you going to do it? Morning, Noon, Night?
- How much time are you going to commit?
- How often are you going to do it?
- Who will be your support person, your action partner?
With an exercise plan, you must have a starting point. Before engaging in physical activity, it’s important to understand if you are at any risk. Family history of heart attacks or sudden death before the age of 65, cigarette smoking, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, impaired fasting glucose, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are all risk factors you should inform your physician of before participating in physical activity. After you’re cleared, undergo a fitness evaluation. This evaluation will review:
- Your body composition, measurements, body fat percentage and percentile range comparisons
- Your heart rate, including resting, max, VO2 max and percentile range comparisons
- Blood pressure
- Flexibility and percentile range comparisons
- Muscular endurance, muscular strength and percentile range comparisons
This data helps you understand exactly where you are starting. It helps you set realistic goals and offers a comparison when you log your activities and measure your progress.
- After participating in a Fitness Evaluation, its easier to create better goals – ones you understand and agree to. Understanding where you rank on a percentile allows you to choose one level better each time. Think of it as baby steps.
- Make your goals relevant. Participate in activities you enjoy and are already doing. Find a way to make your daily tasks a relevant fitness activity that will better your physical health. Also, breaking your goals into small, do-able, realistic steps is one of the best strategies for success.
- Your physical fitness should be a lifestyle change and a lifelong journey but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t create result-orientated goals that offers a reward when achieved. Give yourself some added motivation. Place a (realistic) time frame on your goals and reward yourself after you achieve success.