Goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal future, and for motivating yourself to turn your vision of this future into reality.
By setting sharp, clearly defined goals, you can measure and take pride in the achievement of those goals, and you'll see forward progress in what might previously have seemed a long pointless grind.
This applies to life in general not just fitness.
A useful way of making goals more powerful is to use the SMART mnemonic.
Specific: Well defined, clear, and unambiguous
Measurable: With specific criteria that measure your progress towards the accomplishment of the goal
Achievable: Attainable and not impossible to achieve
Realistic: Within reach, realistic, and relevant.
Timely: With a clearly defined timeline, including a starting date and a target date. The purpose is to create urgency.
Goals that are specific have a significantly greater chance of being accomplished. To make a goal specific, the five “W” questions must be considered:
Who: Who is involved in this goal?
What: What do I want to accomplish?
Where: Where is this goal to be achieved?
When: When do I want to achieve this goal?
Why: Why do I want to achieve this goal?
A SMART goal must have criteria for measuring progress. If there are no criteria, you will not be able to determine your progress and if you are on track to reach your goal. To make a goal measurable, ask yourself:
How do I know if I have reached my goal?
What is my indicator of progress?
A SMART goal must be achievable and attainable. This will help you figure out ways you can realize that goal and work towards it. The achievability of the goal should be stretched to make you feel challenged, but defined well enough that you can actually achieve it. Ask yourself:
Do I have the resources and capabilities to achieve the goal? If not, what am I missing?
Have others done it successfully before?
A SMART goal must be realistic in that the goal can be realistically achieved given the available resources and time. A SMART goal is likely realistic if you believe that it can be accomplished. Ask yourself:
Is the goal realistic and within reach?
Is the goal reachable given the time and resources?
Are you able to commit to achieving the goal?
A SMART goal must be time-bound in that it has a start and finish date. If the goal is not time constrained, there will be no sense of urgency and motivation to achieve the goal. Ask yourself:
Does my goal have a deadline?
By when do you want to achieve your goal?
These don't just have to for your fitness you SHOULD apply the SMART method to your life goals etc.