SMART Goal Setting

by Andrea Dietrich, CSEP-CPT
Fitness & Training Coordinator
Recreation Services, University of Manitoba

With New Year’s Resolutions just around the corner, it is not uncommon to hear the phrase, “this year I’ll get in shape!” brought into the mix. Regardless of whether this is one of your goals for 2018, any resolution you might make will benefit from setting SMART goals.

Setting SMART goals can help motivate you when making lifestyle changes by defining your intention with measurable outcomes and deadlines. Read through the following explanation of the SMART acronym and create a goal that you would like to achieve in the new year.

SMART goal setting brings structure and trackability into
your goals and objectives. 
Specific: Goals benefit from having parameters so that you know what you are aiming to achieve. For example the goal: I want to run faster could benefit with some more details. The goal: I want to run at setting 7.0 on the treadmill for 10 minutes is a lot more specific and gives you a better idea of what ‘running faster’ looks like.

Measurable: how will you determine whether a goal has been met? This principle goes hand in hand with Specific in that it helps you determine what standards have to be met to consider the goal accomplished. You can use distance, time, weight or anything quantifiable to decide how to measure your goals.

Achievable: Goals that can be reached in a reasonable amount of time are the most useful. Lofty goals such as, “I want to run a full marathon in two months” can become discouraging if you are still struggling with finishing a 5K. Go for goals that are challenging, but not so much so that you might set yourself up to fail.

Relevant: Choose a goal that means something to YOU! It is easier to motivate yourself into working towards goals if they are worthwhile for you. The result of accomplishing your goal has to hold some value to you, and that determines whether you’re motivated enough to work at it.

Timely: Set deadlines to your goals! Are you a procrastinator? If you do not give yourself a date by which you will have achieved your goal, you may end up putting it off and forget about it.

Your SMART goal is a roadmap from your starting point to where you want to end up. Some goals require mini-goals to break them down into manageable pieces. To climb a mountain you first need to invest in some shoes, so don’t let big dreams intimidate you.

Lastly, we recommend you write down your goals, talk about them with others, and find a supportive group who is invested in similar goals. Being accountable to someone makes it easier to commit to your plan because you have someone cheering you on. However, if you do have fitness related goals, the professional and certified staff that work for Recreation Services are qualified to help you on your way with personal training services.