The new year is a perfect opportunity to initiate new resolutions and commitments.
One area that many people focus on is exercise and improving their physical health. While it’s important to set ambitious goals, it’s also important to be realistic about what you are capable of achieving.
One of the best ways to set realistic and ambitious goals is to make each goal a SMART goal:
● S – Specific: Clearly defined and specific, with no room for confusion or misunderstanding
● M – Measurable: Able to be tracked and measured, with clear progress markers
● A – Achievable: Realistic and achievable, taking into consideration your current resources and limitations
● R – Relevant: Aligned with your values and overall goals
● T – Time-bound: With a specific time frame for completion
By setting SMART goals, you are more likely to stay motivated and focused on your objectives and ultimately achieve success. Here are seven ways you can use the new year to improve your health and fitness.
Increase Your Physical Activity Level
One of the most common exercise goals is to simply move more. This can be as simple as taking a daily walk or adding in a few extra workouts per week.
But you need to make this goal more specific and measurable.
Instead of telling yourself, “I will exercise more,” try setting a goal such as:
● “I will walk for 30 minutes every day.”
● “I will attend 3 fitness classes per week.”
Improve Your Cardio Fitness
Cardio fitness is important for heart health and can also help with weight loss. It’s also what allows you to extend your workout sessions and increase your endurance.
To set a SMART goal for improving your cardio endurance, consider using a specific measure such as your maximum heart rate or time spent exercising. For example:
● “I will increase my time spent running by 5 minutes per week.”
● “I will maintain a heart rate of 140-150 for 45 minutes during my workouts.”
Strength training is important for overall health and can also improve your ability to perform everyday tasks.
To set a SMART goal for building strength, consider using specific exercises and a certain number of sets and reps. For example:
● “I will perform 3 sets of 10 push-ups twice per week.”
● “I will complete a full body strength training workout 3 times per week.”
Improve Flexibility and Balance
Flexibility and balance are important for maintaining mobility and preventing injuries.
SMART goals for improving these areas should note specific stretches or routines and a certain number of repetitions:
● “I will practice balance exercises, such as single leg squats and standing on one foot, 3 times per week.”
● “I will attend a weekly yoga class throughout the entire year.”
Try a New Exercise or Sport
Stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new can be a great way to mix up your exercise routine.
SMART goals for trying new activities may include things like:
● “I will try rock climbing for the first time this Spring.”
● “I will join a recreational soccer league for the summer season.”
Improve Your Nutrition
Exercise is only one part of maintaining good health. Proper nutrition is also important for maintaining energy levels and achieving your fitness goals.
Try using specific measures such as increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables or cutting back on processed foods. For example:
● “I will eat 3 servings of vegetables every day.”
● “Every week, I will learn at least one new healthy recipe to cook.”
Set a Goal for a Specific Event or Competition
Training for a specific event or competition can be a great way to stay motivated and push yourself to new levels.
To set a SMART goal for an event, consider the distance, terrain, and time frame. For example:
● “I will train to run a half marathon in under 2.5 hours in 6 months.”
● “I will train to complete a triathlon in the summer season.”