By Chris Malone

Goal-setting and planning are key to achieving your fitness aims and ensuring 2021 is a better year all round.

Let’s face it – 2020 has been downright rubbish on a lot of fronts and even the best laid plans from late 2019 had to be chopped and changed for most people, with job losses, illness, bereavements, moving home and the complete decimation of social lives wreaking havoc across the board.

However, two key skills came to the fore during an undoubtedly tough year and helped some make the best of a bad situation.

  1. The ability to pivot and deal with quickly changing situations became key in dealing with the pandemic and its wide-ranging effects. This mental resilience lets you get the best out of a tough scenario and either come out the other end in a better position or having at least limited the damage
  2. Being able to properly plan and set goals is essential in focusing the mind and driving actions. This is true in fitness, business, finance and everyday life.

Goal setting is the starting point for any well-defined plan and, done properly, will keep you focused, motivated and give you the best chance of taking the action required to get the results you seek.

What makes a good goal?

SMART goals have been a staple of the corporate consultancies for years and with good reason. This acronym helps define goals and ensure they have the best possible chance of success. So what are SMART goals?

  • Specific (Simple, sensible, signifiant)
  • Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
  • Achievable (agreed, attainable).
  • Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
  • Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).

Instead of saying ‘I want to lose weight’, you can use the above to drill down into what you actually wish to achieve and ensure you are accountable for the action that will get you there.

A better way of saying this would be:

‘I want to get from 95kg to 85kg by the start of July so I’m in good shape for my holiday. I also want to ensure I maintain my muscle mass and lose fat, with a goal of achieving 15% bodyfat in the same timeframe – down from 24% currently. I’d like to get halfway to this goal pretty quickly, with 5kg of weight lost and 5 bodyfat percentage points dropped by the 1st of March.’

This has a clearly defined aim, is measurable in terms of weight and bodyfat percentage over time, is an achievable aim given the timeframe, is relevant in that it’s based around getting in shape for a specific event and also has a specific timeframe.

A good personal trainer will be able to take a SMART goal like this and provide a clear pathway to achieving those goals. It is the foundation of a solid training plan and provides a huge motivational carrot to work with.

As we head into 2021, why not write out some SMART goals and action points for all aspects of your life? Think about how they can be applied to your career, education, relationships, fitness, sports performance and finances.

On behalf of everyone at SGF, I’d like to wish you all a fantastic Christmas and a prosperous 2021!