“Smart” Goals

Goals, everyone’s favorite fitness topic, right? Before you tune me out, let me share with you what I have learned about goal setting in my many years in the fitness industry, and see why some goals fail and some succeed.  

I’m sure you have heard the importance of setting “SMART” goals. In case you haven’t, it is a guideline for setting goals that stand for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-constrained. Now, what does that mean in the real world? Let me share with you a few experiences that I had personally and how these principles were applied.  

A few months ago, I signed up for a half marathon in St. George. I was excited because I was doing it with a friend. As the date approached, I became more and more anxious. The time that I wanted to finish in was not as aggressive as past races that I had done, because I just wanted to have fun, but I was so busy with work, and family responsibilities that I had minimal time for preparing for the half marathon. I was worried that I would do terrible. In the weeks leading up to the race, I was able to make my way to the treadmill a few times and managed to do a couple of long runs, so when race day came I anxiously made my way to the starting line, and ran the race. My friend who had prepared made great time. After the first couple of miles, I was no longer able to keep up, and fell behind. Eventually I made it to the finish line, and I got a decent time, but I felt terribly sick! I could not keep anything down, and it took a couple days to recover. 

Now, I want to contrast that to another example. A few years ago, I decided to do a physique competition.  I had a large number of clients that were interested in doing a physique competition, and in order to best be able to help them I wanted to go through it myself. I signed up for the competition and then began researching the nutrition and workout plan that I would follow. I asked friends who had done competitions in the past for pointers, and even went to teachers at my university and asked them for advice. I knew what I wanted to weigh in at and what I wanted my body fat percentage to be when I stepped on stage. As the date approached, I felt ready and excited! I knew that I had prepared as best I could, and I was happy with myself. I went on to win third place in my division.  

So, what is the big difference between those two situations? I signed up for both so there was a timeline I was following. I would say that I was realistic about what I expected to achieve on both the race and competition. I could specifically measure the goals that I had made, having set a goal for the weight and time that I wanted. So why did I have such a terrible experience on the race, and enjoy the competition so much? I believe the reason is, for the race I was more concerned with what I was doing and with the competition I was more concerned with what I was becoming. I think that just wanting to do something is not enough to fuel the fire of motivation. It is when we have a goal of becoming something better that we find true enjoyment.  

Becoming for the benefit of someone else also amplifies motivation. For example, I have found that clients who have weight lose goals motivated by a desire to have a healthier lifestyle, so they will have more energy to play with their kids, and more energy and confidence to help and love others (becoming for others) are far more successful in reaching their goals! So I challenge you to go and BECOME.  I would love to hear about your goals and how you achieve them! (You can message me on social media). 


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Written by Kelli Bettridge, CPT, FNS

Kelli is a NASM CPT and is FNS certified. She currently trains clients at Vasa Fitness. Kelli earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise Science from Utah Valley University where she currently teaches Fitness For Life.