Making SMART Goals

In my last post, I said that having a process is extremely important for achieving a goal and you needn't break your head to make one. Once you have a way to get there, though, it's a good idea to know how to measure where you are in your journey. My tip for today: Make SMART goals.

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If you've taken a business or good gym class you may have become acquainted with the process, if not-it's a good one to know. Once introduced, your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, and Time-bound.

So what does this mean?

In my wheel of life, an important section for me was health. I had a number of things I wanted to improve and a few goals for becoming awesomely healthy. One that's been strongly on my mind is having an exercise program to improve my cardio-respiratory endurance and posture. For the process, I got one session with a personal trainer who set me up with a program that included time for cardio and resistance exercises. However, I still need to know if I'm getting the results I want. I'm happy with the results of my posture so far, so I'll focus on the cardio.

  • Specifically, I want to up it to get a total of at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week. This is the target set out by The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines and it's a good one.
  • I can Measure my progress by keeping track of my activities and adjust accordingly.
  • My Action is the 150 minutes I will do. My strategy is to include a run/walk for 30 minutes 2 times a week at a moderate pace along with an hour long dance class once a week (or other activity if I miss it). Other days I will keep fun, light activity in my life- aiming for at least 15 minutes a day. I chose this because my mission is to improve overall cardio and, while I enjoy running, I want to make sure I vary the activity somewhat.
  • I think the goal is Realistic because I can expect this action from myself; I know I can fit it into my schedule and I have the desire to do so.
  • It is Time-Bound because I want to do this 150 minutes every week.
Image by Brighton photographer
If, I don't succeed in my goal, then I need to reassess periodically and plan again. If I do, I will adjust my plan to reach higher. Still I know that the only thing I can control is what I do and, for me, that is what I have to base my feelings of achievement on.

For more information and help with SMART goals, I highly recommend the PDF on changing health behaviour from Concordia's Health Services. For more tips and info on getting the recommended amount of physical activity and setting goals, check around Health Canada's website.

Does anyone have a cardio or running success story? What are some SMART goals you're working on now? 
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