TodayApril 15, 2022

SMART goal setting for personal fitness

The fitness community, both online and at the gym, can be a positive and inspiring place for people to go to improve their lives. It increases their levels of happiness, self-esteem, and fitness. It’s an individual thing. For some, their achievements may look like running a 5k race, but for others, it can be hitting a new PB on the barbell. It depends on the individual’s abilities, matched with their goals and desires to achieve.

Fitness and personal development have an integral, natural relationship from the beginning. Personal fitness is the improvement of the body’s health– the vessel that carries the individual while getting through this thing called life. From birth, it is the same body that grows and develops with the person; from infancy to childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and finally, the senior years. This one body carries the person and experiences every peak and trough of life, along with the mind which processes and saves the multi-sensual skills, committing them to memory.

The body and the mind are inseparable. The body and mind are partners for life. So taking care of the body is inevitably taking care of the brain at the same time. The body produces the strength to achieve the essential things in life to the individual successfully; succeeding in a career, finding love, changing the lives of others, etc. etc.

It’s natural for people to enter into the world of fitness to improve their aesthetics. They do this by losing weight, toning the body, and building muscle, which in turn can make people look better. While these are admirable and worthy goals to pursue, this isn’t always what makes people hang about in this community for the longer term.

The pursuit of personal fitness can naturally progress the individual into wishing to improve their lives on the whole. Here are some things that illustrate the natural partnership between improvement of personal fitness and how they can work to improve the quality of life overall. It should not only about becoming a consumer of information but putting the newly acquired knowledge into practice and accelerating forward.

Goal Setting and Following Through with the Plan

Whether one wishes to tone up or to pluck up the courage to deliver a speech at a workplace awards ceremony, these things take careful and strategic planning. Setting SMART goals can help to make goals achievable.

These goals need to be:

  • Specific (What/Who/Where/Why)
  • Measurable (How can it be evidenced that you achieve the goal?)
  • Achievable (It needs to be attainable)
  • Realistic (Something possible- results-based)
  • Time-bound (When will this goal be achieved?)

An example of a SMART goal could be the following:

‘I want to be able to run a half marathon within the next year.’

Their goal is specific because it talks about a particular event, and when the event will take place. However, when diving a little deeper, other aspects of what the goal entails would need to be considered. For example, if the individual wishing to run a marathon is an experienced season runner, versus a person new to running. The experience will differ significantly to somebody with personal fitness levels suited to long-distance running. Personal training schedules tailored to suit the needs of the person can help them when it comes to planning and achieving their running goals.

This regiment goes beyond just how many times a week, the person will train. It’s also how they will ensure they get adequate nutrition that supports their training. Also, understanding SMR as an aid to recovery and rest days as part of their training schedules could be taken into consideration. Avoiding injury while training toward a particular event is essential so as not to hinder one’s progression.

All of these things can be measured through the achievement of identifying and working on the elements required to get to the stage of half marathon readiness.

Is this achievable? Absolutely! When completing the specificities of training, recovery, and pushing boundaries, anything is possible.

Realistic? Yes. Many people have set out similar goals from different starting points and manage to get there. For some, multiple times in their lives. The realisticness of a target depends on how much the individual setting the goal wishing to push themselves further to achieve greatness. Why stop at a half marathon, when there are full marathons to be run?

Of course, this goal is time-bound because an event such as a half marathon is on a particular date, so the person wishing to run would have to be ready by then.

Reward from Effort 

Stepping into a gym for the very first time, and watching people lift heavy weights can be a daunting experience. However, like the linear relationship of body and mind, what you put in is what you get out of it. If you put in the work, you get stronger, fitter, and overall ‘better’ at the things. Very soon, those in a fitness environment learn not to focus on what others are lifting, but the achievements of themselves and only themselves.

Indeed, the only competition is the one between where a person is currently at, verses where they wish to be. With continuous training and development, a person gets stronger, more focused, and more dedicated, pushing their boundaries- they begin to see the result of their efforts.

In everyday life, this can look like pushing toward the promotion, getting things done at work quickly and efficiently, while utilizing imaginative new ideas. It’s being able to take the trip of a lifetime as a result of affording it. Transformative things only achieved by being disciplined to work toward a goal.

Leading From the Front

The online world is full of social media’ influencers’, which impact people’s decisions around what to wear, the training they do, and what they choose to eat and drink. It’s natural for people to bring in this subconscious way of thinking and comparison to others into their everyday lives. The authentic influencers are those leading from the front and achieving results.

Family, friends, co-workers, or the guys at the gym- everyone is inspired by results and want to make them for themselves, too.

Being a positive influence can feel good because it does good to be good.

Pushing limitations, and therefore, mindset naturally develops self-belief and self-confidence. Self-esteem is something that will leak into more aspects of life than previously anticipated. There is never an incidence where being more self-aware and confident is a bad thing. These things can enhance not just fitness, but romance, career and therefore, overall wellbeing.

Delving Deeper into Self-Development

While the initial stages of the pursuit of personal fitness are to look and feel better, the benefits of achieving these goals go beyond aesthetic.

Positive visualization and following the principles of the laws of attraction make manifest the goals by focusing not on what is lacking, but the desire to achieve. Fitness depends on the act of discipline. Being persistent by continuing to grind each day creates an excellent basis for developing other areas of life. In a way, fitness trains the mind to develop and form habits more easily.

Fitness is not just in the physical. It sets to improve other areas of strength; strength of character, willpower, mind, and discipline. These, in turn, add to personal growth, making goals more attainable.

Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.

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