Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals To Succeed at New Years Resolutions

Dave Herber
Written By: Dave Herber
December 24th, 2008
Updated: June 13th, 2020
12.5K Reads
Dave Herber shows you how to set S.M.A.R.T goals this New Years! Learn how changing the way you set goals can help you achieve your New Years Resolutions!

With New Year's Eve right around the corner all of us resolve to make the next year the year we finally lose the extra weight and recommit to health and fitness. But 90% of us will fail because our goals are not S.M.A.R.T. goals. The acronym S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-related and is your ticket to succeeding with your health and fitness resolutions.

S Specific - "I want bigger biceps", "I want to lose weight", "I want smaller thighs" are not goals, those are wishes. They are not specific enough. On the other hand "I want to add an inch to my biceps by March 1st" or "I want to lose a pants size by March 1st" are goals that are SPECIFIC.
M Measurable - This one's a no-brainer. A lot of people hire me or read my e-newsletter to "get fit" or "improve my health". Great... but you can't measure "fitness" or "health" directly. How will you know that your efforts are succeeding as well as they could be? Specific goals are measurable by definition. You know your strength or fitness is improving if you increase the poundage you can lift, or decrease the time it takes for you to run two miles. You'll know your health is improving if your cholesterol levels and blood pressure improve, and your insulin sensitivity increases. Progress needs to be measurable. And your measurements will provide you with the kind of feedback you need to make adjustments as you proceed with your program. Typical bodybuilding measurable goals are: circumference of Abs, Arms and Chest.
A Achievable - Needless to state, your plans need to be based on knowledge, skills, tools and other resources that are available to you. There can't be any pieces missing or out of reach. If there are then you need to be able to compensate or find a way to work around them.
R Realistic - Your goals need to be rooted in reality. If you're six feet six inches tall and weight 180lbs, it's okay to dream about being the next Mr. Olympia, but that's a goal that is completely at odds with where you are now.
T Time-Related - Having a time frame attached to your goals is important. If you want to lose 15lbs of fat, it matters in terms of evaluating your progress, whether you want to lose it in the next 3 months, or "Whenever". In the first case, if you find you haven't lost at least a couple of pounds after the first 2 weeks, then you know it's time to decrease your calories and perhaps make some other adjustments. If your goals are open-ended, however you may end up waiting considerably longer before you make the needed changes to get on track.

Dave Herber is president of Exercise2u, an in-home personal training and fitness education service. He has been a certified personal trainer since 1996 and a certified lifestyle and weight management consultant since 2001 with ACE. You can reach Dave at 724-657-4490 or catch him on the Muscle and Strength Forum. Also, check out Dave's Writer Profile.