Get Real Results with SMART Goals

How SMART are you about getting what you want from life?  Will your New Year's resolutions stand the test of time?  Are fitness goals in your plans?  Experts in the field of self-improvement often recommend the SMART system of goal setting, stating that your goals must be Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic and Timed. The SMART method applies to whatever goals you want to achieve, whether it's running a marathon, losing weight, finding a mate, or moving up the corporate ladder.  Let's take weight loss as an example.

Specific:  "Wanting to lose weight" is not specific enough.  Create objectives like Accumulate 30 minutes of cardio activity five days a week Use a pedometer to measure 10,000 steps per day Perform two full-body strength training workouts each week Cut calories by eliminating a high fat snack, sugary drink or dessert every day

Measureable:  Use your preferred method of measuring weight loss – either the scale or a measuring tape.  A pair of jeans or skirt can also act as your "tape measure."

Action-oriented: Break your long-term goals into weekly targets.  Want to lose 10 pounds? Aim for 1 ½-2 pounds per week for 6 weeks.  As you make the changes in your daily habits, you're also modifying behavior for long-term results.

Realistic: Don't be a casualty of unrealistic goals.  Create goals that are within reach and stick with the program.  The satisfaction of meeting these goals provides incentive to keep you on track.

Timed:  Setting a target date to achieve your goal creates a deadline and permits you to back up your objectives into weekly plans.

Be SMART about getting what you want from your exercise program!

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