Phil Tafone: Choose SMART fitness goals

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By Phil Tafone

Quest Columnist

The new year has begun and is in full swing. As a trainer, I know it usually takes a few weeks to begin getting in shape and starting to work out. Even if football season has kept us on the couch, the Super Bowl is upon us and the season end. There’s no better time to begin than now.

The goal of getting in shape, or the many variations on it, can be extremely challenging to achieve and the data shows that most people fail. This is because most people do not know how to begin. Nine out of 10 fiction writers will tell you they never write the first word until they know how the story ends. Without a goal, and supporting game plan, it is almost not worth starting to exercise. You could break your back or your spirits. The latter is as bad or worse than the former, as we often quit things “for good” once we believe we simply lack the genetics for success.

Challenge yourself to make a SMART goal (Specifics, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely).  You will come up with specifics that you may have never given thought, followed by the actions that will get you there. Here’s what we are looking for:
• Specifics – Clarify what kind of change you want. Gain something or lose something? How much?
• Measureable – Use a unit of measure. Lose five pounds? Run a mile one minute faster?
• Achievable – Is the goal something that fits within science. You’re not going to fly by flapping your arms.
• Realistic – Is it realistic to your starting point. A seven minute mile is all of the above, for an athletic person.
• Timely – Place a deadline on the goal. Don’t kick the can down the road for all of 2016 just like in 2015.

A SMART goal should read something like, “I plan to lose 5 pounds in 30 days.” Of course, you must realize that a goal is an outcome. Consider how you might reach that outcome. Now add the actions that will get you to the goal. Must you do something daily to reach your goal? Will you add or remove a food or drink from your diet? It is important to give these things thought. Write them down so you have a statement in your own handwriting looking back at you every day. If nothing else, you will see where you may have gone awry should you not hit your goal.
Making a SMART goal and game plan, and putting it on paper will provide not only the greatest odds of success, but allow you to see where and when you may have deviated from the plan.

Phil “Capone” Tafone is currently the Health and Wellness Coordinator at Mesalands Community College. He can be reached at: Thecaponezone@gmail.com.

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