Smart Goal Examples: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound
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Smart Goal Examples Regarding Exercise

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Here are some SMART goal examples with regard to exercise. If you are smart about making your goals and make SMART goals you'll more likely achieve them. This is a good time of year to consider getting more exercise as many people are thinking at the start of a new year that they need to make that resolution. Often the problem with this or other resolutions is sticking with it for more than a few weeks. As I am well into my 61st trip around the sun, I am thinking about exercise and thinking I need to make it more of a habit than I have in the past. We all know that exercise has so many benefits for mind and body; the challenge is how to stick with it long enough for it to become a regular habit. Well here are some tips that might help you (or me) to really make exercise part of a lifestyle. Included at the end are a few smart goal examples.

Why am I exercising? This is the first question to ask yourself. If you can come up with good long-term reasons you are more likely to do it long-term. Make the reasons personal, emphasizing the benefits you expect from all that effort. Do a little research and make a list of the benefits known to come from exercise - they are considerable. Inspirational pictures perhaps of an athlete you would like to emulate can be encouraging.

Set goals. Set both a short term (say 3-6 weeks) and a long-term goals (a year). Your goals should be SMART meaning they are:

S = specific - not just to walk more but to achieve a specific distance or time
M = measurable - not just to lose weight but how much
A = attainable - an impossible goal brings only discouragement
R = relevant - something that will be a benefit to your situation
T = time-bound - a goal with no deadline is really no goal at all. A goal for a set time such as a year gives you the opportunity to say "goal completed" and move on to greater goals. Think of a goal as a dream with a deadline.

Involve others. Working out with a partner can make it easier and more enjoyable. If you exercise alone you can report your progress to someone else; there are probably even on-line ways to do this. Keeping a record of your exercise can increase your accountability. Include the benefits you find as an encouragement. Chart your progress in regard to your specific goals. You might even keep a visual record of your improved appearance - take a selfie.

Time and excuses. These can short circuit your good intentions in a hurry. Schedule a good time for exercise in a part of the day when you are less likely to face challenges doing it. Come up with ways to deal with the challenges you might face in completing your workout. Determine to exercise anyway. One trick is to promise yourself that you can stop after ten minutes if you want to. By that point, you'll like be into it enough to finish. Find ways to make exercise enjoyable. Listen to good music, audio books etc. Often you can make another use for your exercise time. Exercise will make many other things you do more efficient and the time lost to exercise may well be made up. So avoid thinking of exercise as taking time you can't spare.

Reward yourself. Put stars on your calendar for each day of success. Give yourself bigger rewards occasionally; buy yourself something special (preferably not junk food). Changing your routine as you reach new goals can even be used as a reward. Keep in mind that the real rewards are the health and personal benefits from exercise - the reasons you are doing it in the first place.

Make it easy on yourself. Having proper equipment can make a big difference in the comfort level of your workout. Good footwear and the right clothing are important. A good pedometer if you are walking or running might be a help to track your progress. Avoid missing too much of your schedule or it will be difficult to keep going but don't be too hard on yourself if you miss a day. Things come up; just get back on track and keep going. Choose an activity that you enjoy and are likely to do each day. Simply walking is very good.

Safety. Make sure you are properly equipped and using proper technique. Of course, make sure the exercise you choose is within your health and fitness capability and there is no medical reason not to do it. You want to avoid injury and remember pain is a signal so if you are having pain back off. There are times of year I have some kind of a bear deterrent when walking.

Finally, remember - we are talking exercise - put enough effort into it to get the benefits. Exercise, if done strenuously enough, releases endorphins (feel-good brain chemicals) and you will feel better right away. I went for a brisk walk this afternoon and found it much easier to quickly put this article together as a result.

So go ahead and set yourself a smart goal. Examples regarding exercise:

Do my daily walk (a vigorous about 2 kilometers, mostly uphill) more times than I did last year. This is an actual goal of mine for 2014.

S = specific - I know exactly what I have to do
M = measurable - I can measure whether I achieve it or not
A = attainable - I walked a specific number of times last year; I just need to walk more times this year
R = relevant - it certainly gets my heart rate up, the dog gets a walk, I get fresh air, contemplative time out of my busyness etc.
T = time-bound - within a year I will either have achieved it or not

I could also set a goal to achieve a record time for that walk within the next year. Again, that would satisfy all the criteria of a SMART goal. I just have to do it (the walk) a little faster than my last year's record.

Just for the record, I am writing this on Jan. 12, 2014 and have done my walk 6 times already this year so I am doing really well. My speed will pick up as I get in practice and as the weather improves. The snowy roads and clunky boots slow me down somewhat.

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