Updated: Jun 25, 2020
Too many people stumble in to the gym with no direction or clearly defined target, what we would refer to as a goal. What good is being a captain of a ship with no destination? All you'd be doing is meandering around the ocean in circles not knowing which port you are headed to and eventually run out of fuel.
Sadly, this is how most people approach their health & fitness goals and eventually they run out of steam and give up.
Our challenge to you is simple - think about where you want to be and the goals you want to achieve. When doing that, be sure the goals you set tick the following criteria:
✔️ S - specific
The goal must be specific and not ambiguous. It's not good enough to say you want to increase your squat - also define by how much or what the goal weight is.
✔️ M - measurable
It must be something you can clearly measure. How do you know if you've reached that goal if you don't know if you've reached it? The squat is a perfect example. You know if you squat 100kg or not, it's very easy to measure. Yes it is true some things are difficult to measure such as mental health related goals but try and be creative in ways you can measure and assess how you are tracking.
✔️ A - attainable
Is the goal something you can actually achieve? Be completely true to yourself here. I mean if you're a 60kg male then a 400kg raw squat is probably not attainable.
✔️ R - realistic / relevant
The goal must be realistic and relevant. If you are a Powerlifter then your goal will probably be to improve your squat, not your full marathon time. The goal must also be realistic within the time frame you are suggesting. You're not going to add 100kg to your squat in one week, for example.
✔️ T - time dependent
You can't leave goals open ended, you must define a clear time frame. How do you know when you are supposed to reach a goal with no time limit?
That all being said here is a goal a 100kg Powerlifter might create who currently squats 280kg:
"I want to squat 300kg in competition by the end of 2021."
The goal clearly satisfies each of the criteria making it a SMART goal. Specific? YES! Measurable? YES! Attainable? YES! Relevant? YES! Time bound? YES!
On top of this, always try to have a few different goals that perhaps are in the short, medium and long term. If you set goals that are just too far in to the future then staying motivated along the way can become difficult. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. So, sometimes it may be better to cut up one massive goal in to smaller more manageable goals you can achieve in your journey.
Goal setting is certainly something we recommend and a process we follow with all of our clients and it's something you should consider if you look after your own training.
Hope that helps! Good luck setting and more importantly achieving your own goals.
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