Want results, then be SMART about your goals.

When it comes to seeing results and defining your fitness goals, it pays to be SMART. All too often I ask someone what their goals are and they respond with a long pause followed by a generic goal of “I want to lose weight”. I usually fire back and ask how much weight. Again, the response is a pause followed by some magic number.

In order for someone to accomplish anything, they must first know where they are (we take care of this with comprehensive testing at the Princeton Longevity Center), where they want to go, and how to get their. Educating patients on setting SMART goals becomes a priority.

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant/Realistic, and Time-bound.
1. Specific – goals need to be as specific as possible, such as I want to decrease my body fat from 20% to 18%
2. Measurable – goals need to measurable. Saying I want to be more fit is too generic vs. I want to increase my aerobic capacity from a VO2 score of 42 to 45.
3. Attainable – are the goals we set actually attainable
4. Relevant – is it actually relevant to increase our overall health, fitness, etc.
5. Time-bound – what is the time frame in which we want to accomplish our goal? Is it 3 month or 3 years.

Through this process patients gain an understanding of what they really want and how to ultimately get there. We provide very specific feed back on the patient’s current status (overall health and fitness level) and road map to change what needs to be changed.  So the next time you are setting goals (this holds true for most worthwhile endeavors) be sure to set SMART goals.

About keburns

Exercise Physiologist at The Princeton Longevity Center
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