I am very goal oriented. I set a goal, make a plan, and take action. Simple, right? But what if you’re stuck at the first step – setting a goal? There are several guidelines I follow. I use the acronym: S.M.A.R.T.


First, be SPECIFIC. I often hear “I want to get in shape”. That’s not very specific. What does that mean to you? Lose weight? Lose body fat percentage? Improve your cardiovascular capacity? Thus, determine a specific number of pounds to lose or a specific body fat reduction.


Second, make the goal MEASURABLE. If your goal is to gain muscle for example, take circumference measurements and get your body fat % prior to beginning the training program. This way, you can track your progress, or lack thereof, and make necessary modifications.


ACTION ORIENTED is the next principle. Be sure the goal is something for which you can take action. Come up with a plan involving basic steps. This may include short-term goals such as, “I will work out 3 times this week”.


Make sure the goal is REALISTIC. To say you want to lose 50 lbs. in two months is not realistic. (unless you’re very ill) For weight loss, a healthy, reasonable reduction rate is 1 to 2 pounds a week. If you lose weight any faster than this, you are losing muscle – NOT a good idea. Sidebar – all these diet plans that promise rapid weight loss – EXTREMELY unhealthy. We’ll save that dialogue for another blog.


The last guideline is make the goal TIME-BOUND. Set a specific date to reach your goal. For example, if your goal is to lose 50 lbs., and you lose a healthy 8 lbs. a month, that will take roughly six and one half months. Thus, set the date for June 30, 2012.


One last very important principle. Write down your goal and keep it visible!


Remember this proverb:  Failing to plan, is planning to fail!


By:  Sharon Powell

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