I'm sure you have all heard of S.M.A.R.T. before, right? If not, it pertains to goal setting and stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time oriented. You might be asking yourself, "what does this all mean". Don't worry, I'm going to tell you!
Just as it should be...goals need to be very specific. Saying "I want to lose weight" is not specific. A better way of stating the same goal, but making it specific, is saying "I want to lose five pounds". Answering who, what, where, when, and how can help make goals more specific. Now we're getting somewhere, but we're not quite done.
This serves as a way to realize if a goal has been achieved. Many times the 'measurable' part of a goal might be a number such as reaching a certain body fat percentage. For most of you reading this, it may likely be the number of training session per day/week/month or hitting a certain weight in your favorite (or worst) lift.
We all want to accomplish our goals. Therefore, we would not want to sabotage ourselves by thinking negatively. Focusing on the activities that will produce the goals desired will lead you in the right direction. If you wanted to lose body fat, you would not eat at McDonald's, right? Set sentences for each goal that will lead you down the right path. Also, start each sentence with words that are positive. For example, "I will condition three days per week for twenty minutes". This statement includes a positive start (I will), includes an activity (conditioning), and is specific for frequency (3 days per week) and duration (20 minutes).
This relates to the possibility of achieving the goals you set. If you want to add 100 pounds to your squat in a month, this isn't really a realistic goal. Goals have to be challenging, but not so challenging that there is no possible way to achieve them. Sure, you should always be optimistic, but you should also be a realist. Hard work and determination can only go so far before you start regressing, so don't push it. Plan your training and deloads accordingly and watch yourself progress better than ever.
This allows a certain time point to be established in which the goal should be accomplished. Goals that are too easy to accomplish may be reached too soon, which often leads to a loss of motivation. Goals that are too challenging, and are not accomplished in the set time frame, often lead to a loss of interest. This leads to the person feeling like a failure and ultimately giving up on the goal.
Let's say you have a friend who is a very knowledgeable strength coach or personal trainer. You're going to use their expertise to help you reach your goals, right? Use the resources you have available to you to reach all of your goals! If your friends have similar goals, make it a competition for added motivation. You can also work with each other to reach your goals. Believe me, it's always easier to reach goals if you have someone helping you along the way. It's as simple as that! This is one of those things that seems simple, but is often overlooked.
There you have it! All the tools you need to start walking the path to a better you! Follow these simple guidelines to set your goals and you'll be there in no time. Good luck in your endeavors! Train hard, train smart!