As January approaches many regular gym goers are dreading the rush of new year’s resolution gym members that fill every gym at the beginning of every new year. The first few weeks can be awful for finding a piece of free gym equipment and what is usually a one hour workout can turn into two hours of what seemed like a pretty pointless session. However, within a few weeks this rush soon starts to fade away. This is the part of this chaotic month that upsets me the most. The drop off. The unsuccessful resolutions.
But why are they unsuccessful? Is it the crazy rush that scares them away? Or is it a lack of knowledge? They have their resolutions, i.e. ‘goals’ but maybe this is more of a dream at this point and this dream is in need of some stepping stones to turn it into a more realistic goal. Dream big! So when they do not achieve anything or see results within the first few weeks, it disheartens them along with the queues for equipment and not knowing what to do in front of a crowded room and grumpy regulars. This is where it is important to plan out a journey, not for them to jump in to the deep end. As a fitness professional, you can step up and help these individuals set their SMART goals.
What is a SMART Goal?
A SMART goal is defined as one that is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Below is an indication of what each criterion involves in a SMART goal.
The goal should explain exactly what you want to do and clearly define your intended result. This is the ‘what’, ‘why’, and ‘how’ of the SMART goal.
Goals need to be measurable to give you the confirmation you need that you have achieved your target. The entire statement should be a measure for an overall goal. However, there are usually short-term or smaller stepping stones built within it. Planning your process in a specific timeframe with numerical targets allows you to carry out these steps for something that may have seemed impossible when you started.
Example: “To increase my squat by 5kg in 4 weeks”.
Goals have to be achievable, they should be challenging enough to take you out of your comfort zone but defined well enough so that you can accomplish them. If your goals seem impossible to achieve, for example “I want to fly in 4 weeks”, this is when you are likely to give up or not even attempt to accomplish them. Achievable goals are very motivating, you just require the knowledge, skills and abilities to accomplish them.
Your goals need to be meaningful to you. Do not just set a goal because your friends, family or exercise partners have set a goal. Choose your own personal motivation, something that is important to you. This is what will keep you going on your journey to attain this goal, not someone else.
Giving yourself a time frame increases the likelihood that you will achieve your goal due to the fact you know the clock is ticking. It gives you an end date, a big target to hit, and creates a sense of urgency between the current reality and the vision of the goal.
Example: “By June 1st, 2016, I want to run a 10km race”. OR “By July 1st I want to lose 1 stone”.
Writing SMART goals is very important for achieving your individual goals. This is where fitness professionals can really influence these new year’s resolution crowds. Assist them in the approach that they need to take to plan their success for 2016. Get their goals set in stone and provide them with the information they need in order to accomplish them. Good luck for the new year!