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Nine Tips For Setting Your Fitness And Health Goals For 2014

Barbara Brenseke

S.M.A.R.T. goals will give you an edge by keeping you focused and motivated. (Photo: istockphoto.com/monkeybusinessimages)

Choosing to live, eat and exercise right should be our lifelong goal. However, tangible achievements almost always involve setting several short-term goals. A proven way to ensure success is to make sure you are setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals.

S: Specific, significant

M: Measurable, meaningful, motivational

A: Agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented

R: Realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented

T: Time-based, timely, tangible, trackable

Whether your goal is to lose weight, gain muscle or run a marathon setting S.M.A.R.T. goals will give you an edge by keeping you focused and motivated throughout your endeavor.

Be Specific About Your Fitness Goals

A lot of people begin with too broad of a goal such as "I want to lose weight" but you need to be more specific. How much weight do you want to lose and how long before you lose that weight? You need to be more specific.

Here are six tips for planning your fitness goals:

Who: Who is involved in your goal?

What: What do you want to accomplish (i.e. I want to lose 5 pounds).

When: Establish a time frame such as "I want to lose 5 lbs in two months."

Where: Identify a location. The more details you have in your fitness plan, the more likely you will be to execute your plan. The "where" can be at "The gym," or "In the office." You get the point.

How: Identify the requirements and constraints. How are you going to reach your goal? "By eating right and exercising."

Why: Give specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing your goals such as "for my wedding" or so I can be healthy and feel younger and energetic."

"I want to lose 5 lbs in two months by following a proper nutrition program at Train for the Game LI so I can be ready for my wedding in July."

Make Your Goal Measurable

Now that you have set specific goals and have started making positive changes to your life toward achieving those goals, you'll want to know how you are progressing...

Measuring your progress is as important as setting your goals. This keeps you accountable to keep yourself on track. It also gives you the motivation, the initial success to boost your confidence and morale.

Set attainable goals. You want to make your goals attainable. If you decided to set your goal at losing 30lbs. in two months this is pretty much unattainable and you are setting yourself up for failure from the start.

Be Realistic: Set Realistic Goals. If you plan to achieve this goal, you want to be realistic. If you choose goals such as "I will run for 2 hours everyday or I will not eat candy or cake for three months," these are unrealistic and you have a slim chance of sticking to your plan. Be realistic and ask yourself what the chances are that you will stick to any drastic changes. Do you really have the time to run for 2 hours every day? You won't eat cake even at your child's/mother's/your birthday? You are the ultimate judge about whether your goals are realistic and sustainable.

Stick To Timely Goals

Finally, no goals make much sense unless you attach a time frame to it. By limiting the time you have to accomplish your goal, you have a fixed timetable to work with and sense of urgency that will keep you on track.

Barbara is the owner of Train For the Game in Bellmore. She is a strength and conditioning coach who works with athletes and people of all ages.

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