Any personal trainer or life coach will tell you to always pursue SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time- bound). For example, a goal to lose twenty pounds in the next six months would be considered a solid SMART goal for weight loss.
SMART goals are great milestones, however, they rarely are exactly what someone is trying to attain.
Losing twenty pounds in six months often translates to, “I want to look better for my spouse” or “I want to decrease my likelihood for disease”, or “I want to have more energy”.
Losing twenty pounds may be a great milestone for most people but isn’t the end all be all for anyone. If losing twenty pounds is the sole focus, it is easy to fall into the same bad habits once it is achieved. This mindset contributes to why it can be hard to maintain your ideal weight over time.
Fitness goals are often nebulous and that is okay. Sure, it’s important to have milestones, but it is equally important to focus on building momentum around a healthy lifestyle and falling in love with the process of developing a healthier body. How do you do that?
Do workouts you enjoy
Don’t like running? Don’t run. Find a different way to address aerobic health such as swimming, walking, kickboxing, etc.
Set process goals and have an accountability buddy(ies)
Set goals that sound more like: Do 30 minutes of cardio three days per week and resistance training two days per week. Have someone keep you accountable for this; training buddies or fitness professionals work best, but a friend is about as good.
Stay positive and keep momentum
Missed a day? That’s okay, get it next time. Don’t be so hard on yourself and fall off the wagon. Don’t have the hour to go to the gym? Fine… fill a suitcase full of clothes and do a simple fifteen-minute workout. Build momentum and keep it up. Ate a bad meal? That’s okay… plan your next three healthy meals today, don’t wait.
SMART goals are great, but there is something to be said for being honest about what you’re in this for. The truth is always on your side. Goals are rarely (REALLY) about pounds or months. Goals are about how you feel about yourself. Goals are about being comfortable in your own skin.