Before setting foot in a gym, it is important to know what you want and where you desire to go, otherwise you’ll end up wandering around in circles as most people do initially. By setting goals you are creating a purpose for your workouts. You are also recognizing your starting point and clearly defining a destination.
A great guide to goal setting is to set SMART goals. SMART is a acronym for:
Specific: Generalized and vague goals do not give you a clear direction. Your goal should be a detailed portrait of your final destination. Setting a goal to “be healthier” is an example of a generalized and vague goal. Ask yourself, “What does healthier really mean to me?”, for then you will be heading in the right direction.
“Ambiguous goals produce ambiguous results. Incomplete goals produce incomplete futures.”-Jim Rohn
Measurable: At this point, you already have a SPECIFIC picture of what you want for yourself. By setting precise dates and values, not only are you creating a tangible end but you are also quantifying your success. If you simply say “I want to lose weight” how will you know when you have successfully reached your goal? Will 10 lb suffice? How about 4 inches off the waist? How about fitting into your favorite pair of skinny jeans from 5 years ago? These are all very reachable goals, as long as you actualize them!
Attainable: Working in the fitness industry for several years I’ve see one detrimental thing happen time and time again–setting goals so high they are unattainable. Yes, it’s very important to set big goals that you are emotionally invested in, but it is also just as, if not more, crucial to make sure they are attainable. What is an attainable goal? It is a goal that is realistic and able to be reached in the time you have to work with. Now don’t be misled, attainable is not equivalent to easy. Our goals should be set so that they are just out of our reach; thus helping us to grow by challenging us to step slightly outside of our comfort zone. Everything we have in our lives are things we have “qualified” ourselves for at some point or another. And in order to get something we have never had before, we must be willing to push like we’ve never pushed before, stay focused like never before and do things that we have never done before.