A new year is full of possibilities, inspiring people to make changes to their lives. Lists are made, goals are set, and there is a sense of energy and excitement. One of the top resolutions on almost every list has to do with getting fit and healthy. The first of the year finds gyms and studios packed with people ready to crush their goals. But that optimism that feeds the desire for change on Jan.1 often wanes by the end of the month, and many people find themselves falling back on old habits. Why do so many people fail to stick to their resolutions? Maybe they aren’t setting SMART goals. No, this is not a new Smart Barre and Pilates format. SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Developed originally by George T. Doran, it is a way of setting goals that can help you stay on track.
How It Helps
There’s a children’s joke that asks the question, “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer is, “one bite at a time.” Setting large, broad, and lofty resolutions is not uncommon, but it’s also not that SMART. Things like “I’m going to lose weight,” or, “I’m going to work out every single day,” are the equivalent of deciding to eat the elephant. But unless you set some specific steps in place, you may find you have bitten off more than you can chew.
The SMART method can help you meet your goals by helping you create an actionable plan and set yourself up for success. That way, when obstacles do arise that threaten to derail your efforts, you can pivot rather than quit. Below is a breakdown of the SMART steps and how to incorporate each one into your 2023 fitness goals.
You’ve got to get specific if you want to succeed. Just saying, “I want to lose weight” or “I want to get fit,” is too broad. Break it down to “I want to lose 15 pounds,” or “I want to run a half marathon.” Being specific gives you a target. Once you’ve established the target, it’s easier to formulate a plan for hitting it. For example, “I am going to attend a Smart Barre and Pilates class 2-3 times per week, I am going to start tracking my calories, or I am going to run 3 miles every week” are definitive steps towards your goals. These steps also make it easier to track your progress which leads to step two.
Being able to track your progress keeps you accountable. Once you have set your specific goal, you need a way to measure your progress to make sure you are going in the right direction. Weight loss goals can involve jumping on the scale once a week or checking in each time you hit the studio. A fitness tracker makes it even easier to measure your results, allowing you to log miles, steps, calories, rest, etc. Participate in studio challenges like our “40 in 60 challenge.” Not only does this challenge make it easy to measure your progress and stay on track, but it also rewards you for your efforts along the way with Barre Bucks at the 40, 50, and 60 class marks. Remember that even a little bit of progress is still progress, so don’t get discouraged if things aren’t moving as quickly as you’d like. As long as you are moving forward you are not failing.
Attainable & Realistic
Although these are two separate topics, they go hand in hand. There is no faster way to set yourself up for disappointment than to set a goal that is completely unrealistic and unattainable. For example, if you resolve to lose 50 pounds in two months, that is not only unrealistic, it is unhealthy. If you set a goal of completing a half -Ironman in three months, yet you’ve never exercised a day in your life, that’s probably a stretch. While aiming big is admirable, you have to remember that all good things take time. It doesn’t mean that you won’t ever hit that big goal, it just means you need to build up to it. Set smaller, attainable, realistic goals and watch them add up to success.
Being too vague with the timeline for achieving a goal can lead to procrastination. Then, before you know it, another year has passed. Give yourself a deadline. Depending on the size of the goal, you might want to break it into mini-goals so that you can celebrate the small victories along the way. If your overarching goal is to lose 20 pounds in a year, break it down to approximately two pounds per month until you get there. That half-marathon on your bucket list? Break it down into miles per week. Again, a studio challenge like our “40 in 60 challenge” can help because it takes the guesswork out. You have 60 days to complete the challenge, period with incentives along the way to keep you excited about your progress. Never underestimate the power of a “win,” however, small, to keep you motivated.
When used correctly, the SMART method can increase your productivity, motivation, and commitment to reaching your goals. However, don’t get so focused on each step that you forget the big picture. Not all goals will require all five steps, and that’s okay. Think of these as more of a guide or roadmap that can be tailored to fit your individual needs. Once you have your specific SMART plan in place, stick with it! Consistency is key in anything you hope to achieve. At Smart Barre and Pilates, we are here to help you reach your goals and cheer you on every step of the way. Let us know if we can help you find solutions to your resolutions in 2023. Cheers!