Setting Achievable Goals

Knowing what you want to achieve in life and specifically health and fitness can be a great driver for success.

Whenever I meet with a new client, before we start training I always spend time with them going through their training goals. We perform a full goal analysis and then go on to set short and long term targets to help them stay on track as well as provide them with tools for measuring their progress.  In this week’s blog i’ll go through some tips that you can use if you feel you need to set goals, re-assess your current one, or even unsure as to how to measure and track them.

Using the  S.M.A.R.T goals approach is a really simple and effective way to set your targets. This acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time.

For the purpose of explaining this approach we will use a typical fat loss goal as an example.


What specifically do you want achieve? In this case the goal is related to Fat Loss and it’s important to go into more detail. For example  is there a target weight you want to be? A certain dress or waist size or even body fat percentage you’re aiming for?. A general goal of fat loss will have limited commitment, whereas adding in a specific target will keep you more focused.


How will you be able to track your progress and also realise when achieve your goals? When setting goals ensure you have tools and methods in place to measure your results. In the case of fat loss you can have weighs ins (at the same time, place at an agreed time period), before and after pictures, body measurements using skin calipers and tape measures,  as well as an accurate bodyfat testing machine. 


Is your goal realistic? Can you control how successful you are? It’s wise to consider these questions prior to confirming your goal. Whilst it’s important to not set your goals too low, making unrealistically high targets will almost always end in failure and disappointment. If you have control over the majority of factors relating to your goal then you will dictate how successful you will be. In the case of fat loss, you might want to start of by setting a 1-2lb a week loss rather than aiming for 2-3 stones in one month, which majority of the time is unattainable.


It’s recommended to analyse your current life situation when setting goals. Initially a goal may seem a great idea but if it’s not the right time for you or if you don’t have the necessary things in place then this will make your goal extremely difficult to achieve. In the case of a fat loss goal, your intention may be to lose 1 stone over 2 months, however you are in the Christmas party period and have holidays coming up in January. Mix this in with a hectic lifestyle and a full time job and stresses. I’m not saying that this goal is impossible, however it’s important to question if you are the right frame of mind and if you really want to achieve what you set out for in that time period which leads me on to the final point.


When are you going to start and when do you want to achieve your goal by? Last but by no means least setting deadlines are key to starting, staying on track and achieving your goals. A good example in our fat loss case could be  “I want to start immediately”, “I need  track my measurements monthly”, ” I have a holiday on 20th June I need to have achieved my target by”.

Using the S.M.A.R.T  approach to goal setting is one option for you to consider, however there are many different methods out there to use. As with many parts of health & fitness, find which approach works for you and run with it. Seeking help from a friend, family member or fitness professional can also ensure your goals are achievable. 

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