Kids are going back to school … maybe you’re an empty nester … or maybe you are a summer outdoor enthusiast.

Well, it’s fall time and with the fall comes time to re-set your schedule and, with it, your fitness and healthy lifestyle goals.

We have discussed goal setting a few times over the last five or so years and yet another reminder about setting healthy goals is never too much.

If you have failed with your goals in the past, maybe it’s time to adjust your strategy and start setting some S.M.A.R.T. goals. Take those vague thoughts of what your ideal would look like and start putting them into reality.

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PECIFIC: The goals must specifically state what is to be accomplished. They must be easily understood and should not be ambiguous or subject to interpretation. For example, rather than stating you would like to improve your fitness level, set a specific goal to be able to run a mile in 12 minutes.

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EASURABLE: The goals must be measurable so that there is no doubt about whether you achieved them. Measurable goals also allow you to evaluate your progress. Goals can be measured objectively or subjectively (i.e., how you feel and look) or both. For example, you could measure your percent body fat and body weight, but also monitor how your pants fit.

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TTAINABLE: The goals must be attainable — not too difficult or too easy. Easy goals do not motivate, and overly difficult ones may frustrate you and lead to a perception of failure.

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ELEVANT: The goals must be relevant or pertinent to your particular interests, needs and abilities. For example, when preparing for a 5K walk, running quarter-mile sprints would not be the best approach.

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IME-BOUND: The goals must be time-bound by specific deadlines for completion. Timelines can be both short-term and long-term and should help you stay focused and on track.

With these goals comes journaling. How are you supposed to remember what your goals were on September 1st if, come October 31st, you can’t remember if you were eating 10 pieces of chocolate a day or 10 chocolate bars a day?

We usually don’t give ourselves enough credit for the work we have done and the journey we have taken, we just dwell on the fact that we’re not good enough …yet.

But that “yet” never seems to come.

If we set some short-term goals and give ourselves credit for reaching these goals, then we are more likely to stay positive and keep moving forward so that on November 1st, when the Halloween pot is empty and we are feeling a little tight in the pants, we can look back at how far we have come and move on to the next goal before the Christmas turkey comes out.

Keep a journal, write down some SMART goals and then credit yourself when you reach them.

Here are some more pointers that may help you:

  • Write down why you want to reach the goal, if you don’t really want the reward that comes with the goal it may not really be that important to you.
  • What are you going to get out of it?
  • What are the benefits of reaching the goal?
  • Who is going to help you reach the goal?
  • What support system do you have in place?
  • How are you going to reward yourself along the way?
  • Think beyond the fridge!
  • Keep out some visual reminders. Workout gear, shoes, bag, water bottles, journal, pictures, affirmations positive quotes, etc.

Remember, if you have asked a loved one for help and they give you “tough love”, try to take it to heart, remember you literally asked for it.

This column is provided by Mrs. Lee Randell, independent fitness consultant, who is an ACE certified advanced health and fitness specialist and personal trainer. You can reach her at www.mrsleerandell.com.