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Fun and Fitness: Be SMART

Rick Melo | Interrobang | Lifestyles | January 11th, 2010

Everyone say it with me, 20-10. It's hard to believe isn't it? It's been an interesting year, let alone decade, with all the Michael Jackson and Tiger Woods hoopla. Luckily for Tiger, he's got a new year ahead of him to get off on the right foot. As for the rest of us non-ridiculously wealthy people, we often make New Year's goals of our own. We call them “New Year's resolutions” and they range from the most common things, to the most bizarre. From eating less chocolate to not punching your little brother as much, there are no bounds to what people choose to change.

Around the world, it's safe to say that weight loss makes up the majority of New Year's resolutions. Day after day, many of us say we're going to hit the gym but we postpone it until it's become a lost cause. But when a New Year is fast approaching and everyone is busy tipping the scales during the Christmas holidays, it gives most of us that extra incentive to really give it an honest effort in the New Year. Sure enough, memberships are flying off the shelf at Fitness 101 while the Fitness Centre is getting busy with new gung ho members looking to transform their bodies. February is always a big month for gym membership withdrawals because when the going gets tough, many New Year's “resolutioners” don't get going. In order for one to avoid falling into the February death trap, one needs to abide by what I always preach year after year - set S.M.A.R.T. goals.

SPECIFIC — Do you have a specific goal? You should always attempt to set a specific goal. For example, if you plan to start smoking less, that's not very specific. Instead, try and set a case specific agenda and goal at which you will gradually get to a certain number of lessened cigarettes from which you regularly smoke. If your goal is not specific, you're more likely to slack and postpone results.

MEASUREABLE — Have a means of which you can measure your progress. If you've made a specific goal, measuring will be that much easier. In a weight loss program, a mirror and scale is a good means of measuring your success. In a smoker's case, you can keep track of the number and pace at which your cigarettes are decreasing.

ATTAINABLE — Ask yourself, “Is my goal truly attainable” and “How will I attain my goal?” Look for the opportunities that will help you attain your goal. Develop the skills, desire, attitude and financial capacity that will lead you to victory.

REALISTIC — If you've got 13-inch biceps, you aren't going to get 24-inch pythons like Hulk Hogan within two months, or ever for that matter. If you don't set realistic goals, you will only discourage yourself and deter from potential progress you could be making. Avoid setting yourself up for disappointment and educate yourself on what's realistic for you. Remember, you've got to take it step by step; nobody gets to the second floor in one leap.

TIMELY — Set a timeframe in which you wish to reach your goal. For those looking to lose weight, a healthy weight loss rate is one to two pounds per week. If you're looking to lose 20 pounds in two weeks to fit into that old prom dress, I got an update for you — fat chance. Setting a deadline will give you a target to work towards, but make sure it's realistic.

Regardless of what your New Year's resolution may be, you always need to take a strategic approach and have a game plan. Not to sound clich but Rome wasn't built in one day, so be SMART.
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