It’s the time of year when we are frantically getting ready for Christmas and also when we begin thinking about the new year and our new year’s resolutions.  A lot of times, resolutions relate to health and wellness and particularly fitness.  A high percentage of  people set weight loss goals and/or set a goal in an effort to challenge themselves such as either a 5K, 10K or marathon. But, a lot of times people don’t achieve their goals. Why?

Because people are not setting S.M.A.R.T Goals.

I read a quote recently that stated “New Year’s resolutions are a bit like babies: fun to make but extremely difficult to maintain.”

When setting goals I want you to follow the S.M.A.R.T acronym.

Specific: Sometime goals can be too generic. Make your goal specific - such as - run a 5K on a THIS date, lose 5lbs (not just “lose weight”). A goal such as “I want to get in better shape” or “I want to go to the gym more” are too broad.

Measurable: If you set your specific goal of losing 5 lbs - this can be measured! If you set a goal of running a distance race, your training sessions (distance and time on the treadmill) can be measured. Also consider the importance and value of subjective measurements such as how you feel while running or exercising.

Adjustable: Your goals can not be inflexible!  For instance, if your goal is to get to the gym 4 days per week - don’t limit yourself to say just Monday - Friday.  Things come up. You need to be flexible and be open to life’s happenings. You can get to the gym on an alternate day. Or if you have a goal of exercising 30 minutes per day, you might need to modify your workout because of an unexpected meeting. Make room to finish the workout later in the day or add an additional day later in week. If your program is not adjustable, it will lead to guilt, self shaming and possibly throwing in the towel.

Realistic: This is the most important one in my mind! Goals should be attainable!! Your skills, work/life balance, fitness level, genetics, health status, injuries, age all need to factor into your goal. If these are not factored in, it can lead to frustration, self-loathing and set you back.

Time-Frame: Identify the timeframe needed to achieve your goal. Set a short term goal and then address your long term goal - with an understanding that it is adjustable and realistic.

New year’s resolutions are attainable!! Be S.M.A.R.T and you will succeed.