You’re So Hot

How to Set Fitness Goals You Can Actually Keep

Every January, albeit temporary, health and fitness facilities around the country experience an onslaught of new members and an increase in attendance of existing members. Inevitably, attendance begins to taper off as the year progresses. So, what steps can we take to avoid this happening to us?

Goal-setting is an art form. It’s been a topic of research and discussion in the business community for years. In 1981, George T. Doran introduced a mnemonic guide to help organizations create better goals: S.M.A.R.T., which stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. This framework can be easily applied to personal goal setting and New Year’s resolutions. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Make your goal specific

For example, “eating healthier” is a general goal, while “cutting out red meat from my diet for one month” is specific.

Make sure your goal is measurable

For example, it is difficult to measure “eating healthier,” but caloric intake, ingredients, and portion size can be easily measured.

Make sure your goal is attainable

If money is tight, investing in a gym membership may not be right for you. Instead, run outside or tackle the stairs in your own home.

Ensure that your goal is realistic

You will not be able to lose 80 pounds in one month, but if you spread that goal over the course of the year, you will have an easier time making it a reality.

Choose an appropriate time frame for your goal

Set short-term goals that you can achieve and measure along the way, like losing 7 pounds a month for a year. By breaking it up, you make your goal more achievable and experience a sense of accomplishment along the way, which will motivate further change.

Quick Tips!

Jennifer Hoffman, personal trainer, gives her best advice for better eating:

I hate the term “diet.” Everyone thinks it’s a simple fix. “Which diet will make me lose weight?” is one on my top 10 most asked questions. Diets only lasts a short period of time. You’ll see results, but once you stop, you will go right back where you started. I recommend looking at your foods as fuel, and start swapping out foods you know you shouldn’t eat and replacing them with things you should. For example, if at midday you crave a candy bar, swap that for some raw veggies. Diets don’t produce lifelong results, lifestyle changes do. Start small. I tell my clients to find a “bad food” they consistently eat — just one — and try cutting that out first. Once you can cut one, it becomes easier to continually replace bad foods with healthier alternatives. You are now making your bad habits good habits.

Ignacio Filippini is a Bikram Yoga Instructor since 2010. He has a past life in design and marketing strategy. He’s thrilled to be part of the magazine.