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  • Writer's pictureTravis J. Vanden Heuvel

Setting Goals - What is Right For You?

Contributed By: David Vanderheiden

I’m coming back to you with the next step of living a healthier and happier life. Last time I talked about finding what truly motivates you. This time, I want to talk about setting goals and making sure they are right for you.

How do you set your goals? I am glad I asked. First you need to assess where you are physically and mentally. Knowing that is the perfect place to start. You must understand your body and where it is now before you can decide where you are going and how to get there. If it has been a while since you have worked out, you may need to set goals that are less aggressive to start with a completion date that is further down the road.

There is a great principle to follow that I learned while I was getting certified as a trainer through NASM. It is the SMART acronym. SMART breaks out to specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. What do those all mean? Let me break it down further.

Specific: this is setting a specific goal in a way that anyone could understand what your outcome is. An example would be, "I want to lose 30 pounds." That goal anyone can understand.

Measurable: the goal needs to have a tangible aspect to it. It needs to have a way to measure like a scale or body fat percentage decrease. Being measurable will help you track your progress and keep you motivated towards your goals.

Attainable: this is finding a goal that is challenging, but not extreme. Goals that are too easy to accomplish does not help you grow and get the ultimate success because you are not being challenged.

Realistic: a realistic goal is something that you can be willing to work towards and being able to work towards. Having a goal that is impossible to reach will lead to disappointment and giving up on becoming the person you want to become.

Timely: when setting a goal, there needs to be a specific time frame to complete it by. This could be a date of 1 month or 1 year, but needs to have an end date for sure.

Working with clients at Xperience Fitness, goals are one of the first things that we talk about. I need to know what they want to accomplish so I can help develop a plan for their success. A perfect example of a goal to set is, "I want to lose 30 pounds in the next 6 months." This goal hits every aspect of the SMART principle we discussed. It is specific, has a way to measure it, it is attainable because it is challenging, but not extreme, realistic because it is something that is able to be done and timely because there is a specific end date. As a Personal Trainer, if a client tells me they want to lose 30 pounds in 1 month, I would tell them to try again. It doesn't follow the principle, because it is not realistic or attainable.

You can see how setting goals is important because it gives you a target to shoot for. You can see how setting the right goals will help guarantee your success. That's why I became a Personal Trainer. I want to help everyone I can to reach their goals in health and fitness. I am always happy to answer any questions you may have. We can even find a time to sit down and talk about it.

With that being said, it's time to get to my workout. I live by a corny statement which is, "Be better today than you were yesterday. Be better tomorrow than you are today."

David Vanderheiden is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer at Xperience Fitness in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He specializes in working with clients of different health levels, body types, and fitness levels to achieve their goals of improving their quality of life.


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