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Fun and Fitness: Setting SMART goals will help you keep those resolutions

Rick Melo | Interrobang | Sports | January 16th, 2006



It's hard to believe we've already reached 2006. It feels as if it were only yesterday when everyone was tripping out about the Y2K bug. Well, the lights never went out and here we are yet again starting of a fresh new year. With every new year comes a chance for us to start off on the right foot and change the things we least like about ourselves. We call them New Years 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 boundaries to what people choose to change. Five years ago I made a resolution to not swear as much but that shit did not last long at all; I realized swearing sounded far too cool and that it was not a feasible goal to achieve. The key to successful resolutions, or to succeed in anything you attempt, all comes down to making realistic goals.

Around the world, it's safe to say that weight loss makes up the majority of peoples New Years 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 Years ‘resolutioners' don't get going. In order for one to avoid falling into the February death trap, one needs to set S.M.A.R.T. goals.

SPECIFIC — 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 in 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 twenty 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 cliché, but Rome wasn't built in one day, so be SMART.

Need some advice setting SMART goals? Email Rick for help at rmelo@fanshawec.ca
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