Be S.M.A.R.T. when setting your New Year fitness goals.

Are you one of those people who resolve to get back into shape every time the New Year comes around—but for some reason fail to accomplish that goal every year? If so, you may need to set up SMART goals to make them more effective. They need to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound. This allows you to take those ‘vague ideas’ (like- I just need to get more toned) and transform them into reality (I need to lose 2% of body fat in four months).

SPECIFIC: The goals must specifically state what is to be accomplished. They must be easily understood and should not be ambiguous or subject to interpretation. For example, rather than stating you would like to lose weight, set a specific goal to reduce your body weight by 5kg.

MEASURABLE: The goals must be measureable so that there is no doubt about whether you achieved them. Measurable goals also allow you to evaluate your progress. Goals can be measured objectively or subjectively (i.e., how you feel and look), or both. For example, to lose that 5 kg of body weight, weigh yourself now and again when your deadline has arrived.

ATTAINABLE: The goals must be attainable—not too difficult or too easy. Easy goals do not motivate, and overly difficult ones may frustrate you and lead to a perception of failure. For example, consider whether it is realistic for your body to lose 5 kg or are you already at a healthy weight.

RELEVANT: The goals must be relevant or pertinent to your particular interests, needs and abilities. For example, will losing 5 kg truly help you in attaining your weight loss goal?

TIME-BOUND: The goals must be time-bound by specific deadlines for completion. Timelines can be both short-term and long-term and should help you stay focused and on track. For example, determine an actual date when you should achieve that 5 kg weight loss.

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