Where did this year go? Whether it was the best year of your life, or you’re looking forward to a fresh start in the new year, you may likely have some health and fitness goals at the top of your list of resolutions. How do you make sure they aren’t just a pipe dream? Let’s find out!
Set (the Right Type of) Goals
Goals should be an obvious part of any resolution, but setting the right types of goals isn’t always so clear. To ensure that your goals are fulfilled, they need to be SMART:
- Specific: You must have a specific attribute for improvement in mind.
- Measurable: There must be some way to measure your progress.
- Achievable: Setting realistic goals is crucial to motivate short-term success.
- Relevant: Goals need to be relevant to what you want, not what you think other people want.
- Time-sensitive: You must have a timeline for your goals in order to measure success.
There are many alternatives to this acronym, but following these simple guidelines will force you to consider goals that are actually meaningful to you. Your aspirations should be just that—yours. Otherwise, the motivation to succeed becomes increasingly external, which leads to only skin-deep rewards. Successfully achieved internally motivated goals are much more rewarding in the long run.
Get a Starting Point
A huge mistake that is easy to make when goal-setting is not knowing where you’re starting. Without an accurate baseline value, you have no reference point for comparison to where you end. Don’t wait until you “get in shape” to test yourself. As painful as it can be, testing yourself at your “worst” will only make your accomplishments that much more rewarding.
We offer access to a wide variety of assessments to our members here at NIFS, and we take pride in providing feedback on your progress throughout your fitness journey. Whether you’re looking to track your body composition (body fat percentage), cardiorespiratory fitness level, movement quality, or even just your measurements, we encourage all of our members to take advantage of the complimentary assessments that we offer. After all, you can’t get where you’re going if you don’t know where you’re starting.
After you’ve set your bulletproof SMART goals and established exactly where your starting point is, it’s time to get to work. Once you’ve reached your pre-established timeline for your goals, however, it’s time to retest! Just the same as establishing a baseline, it is absolutely vital to retest your initial measurements. Ideally your testing will be completed under similar conditions as your baseline tests, preferably at a similar time of the day with a similar state of digestion.
What is most important, though, is simply that you retest the same attributes you tested initially. There is nothing wrong with testing something new, but make sure that you’re at least measuring a value that has already been measured. Otherwise, you’ll have no feedback as to whether you were successful in achieving your goals. There truly is no more rewarding feeling than seeing black-and-white proof that you have improved from where you started. It just might be the motivation you need to stick to it in the long run.
As I said earlier, we take pride in assisting you in the goal-setting process from start to finish. You shouldn’t have to take on any goal, but especially a health-minded one, all on your own. Let us be part of your guidance toward being the best you possible in the New Year—and beyond!
The BOD POD® is the gold standard in body composition tracking and NIFS has it. This device accurately measures the percentage of body fat and lean body mass, enabling you to track your body composition more effectively over time.
This blog was written by David Schoch, CSCS, FMS, and Healthy Lifestyle Coordinator. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.