Mastering the Art of Goal Setting

Happy New Year!!

If you’re like me, you just love a fresh start to things whether that’s the first hour of the day, the first day of the month, or the first month of the new year!  There’s nothing like the feeling of a clean slate!  That being said, I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions.  Most people seem to start with tons of motivation and end with beating themselves up for missing a day, or two, or three…

I do have a few resolutions for 2012.  One is to read through my Bible chronologically.  I’ve never actually read through the Bible in a year, so I thought this year should be the year.  However, I’ve already admitted that the important thing is to finish the entire Bible, whether that takes 12 or 24 months.  This takes the guilt off if I miss a day, which will realistically happen.

My fitness resolutions are to complete a triathlon and complete a pull-up.  Last year, I started cycling with my husband.  It’s been a fantastic sport for the two of us since he loathes running and I’m no match for his strength in the weight room!  Cycling is something we can enjoy together for life!  I’ve decided to work on my swimming in order to put the entire tri package together: swim, bike, and run.  My goal is to become a more well-rounded athlete while having tons of fun!  To reach my other fitness goal of completing a pull-up (at least one, but 5 would be nice…), I’m doing TRX and weight training workouts four nights a week with my husband.  I’m holding him accountable to his strength training goal of four days per week during busy season (he’s a CPA who works as much as 80 hours per week until April), and he’s helping me get stronger in my upper body.

When it comes to goal setting, there are few key components that will greatly improve your success rate.  The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) suggests using SCAMPI goals.  SCAMPI goals are

  • Specific
  • Challenging
  • positively Approached
  • Measurable
  • Proximal
  • Inspirational

The idea of a positive approach to your goal involves focusing on a positive end to move toward instead of a negative to avoid.  For example, to improve your success rate for a nutritional goal, consider something like, “I will eat salad at least five times per week” instead of “I will not eat fast food.”

Perhaps you’re hoping to increase your fitness, lose a few pounds, or run your first 5 or 10K.  These are great goals!  Remember to make your goal specific and achievable.  Break your goal down into mini-goals for the month and for the week.  For instance, I’d like to get my running mileage up to 40-50 miles per week by this summer/fall.  I may make a monthly goal of getting up to 30 miles in May, 40 in June, 45 in July, and 50 in August.  Then, I’ll break down the weeks of May into 22, 25, 28, and 30 mile weeks.

I typically encourage anyone with a weight loss goal to have another, simultaneous goal based strictly on fitness.  Perhaps it’s to take 10,000 steps per day four days of the week, or maybe it’s the ability to touch your toes by the end of the month.  These goals can be so motivating because they feel very easy to control.  Before you know it, you’re down a few pounds already.

Best wishes to you in 2012!  Here’s to a healthier, happier you!

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