How to set fitness goals that work

By James / January 4, 2017
how to set fitness goals

New year, new me.  How many times have you heard it from others, or maybe from yourself only to find that a year later you haven’t done anything at all?

Now, I love setting goals at new year.  The fresh start that the turning of the year brings is sometimes just what you need to push you to either start something or to get more serious about it.  In fact I highly recommend setting goals.  The problem is that many people, and I include myself in this a few years back, is that I used to set goals that didn’t work.

I’d start the year by saying things like: ‘I want to get fit’ or ‘I want to lose weight’.  The problem would be that they were so vague that I never actually worked towards them.  The goals weren’t SMART.

Setting SMART goals is the key to success and if you have fitness ideals you want to reach then you’ll really want to learn about them so that you’re maximising your chances of getting there.

Setting fitness goals that work

SMART is an acronym that stands for the following:

Specific – you must make sure that your goal isn’t vague and that you can really specify what you want to achieve.

Measurable – you must be able to measure your goal to make sure that you actually achieved it.

Achievable – it must be something that is able to be done.  Don’t say you want to have a six pack in 4 weeks if you’re 4 stone overweight!

Relevant – the goal must be relevant and worthwhile to you.

Time-bound – there must be a time limit imposed on your goals.


So, for example, instead of saying ‘I want to lose weight’ it could be something like this:

‘I want to lose 2 stone in weight (specific and measurable) so that I am healthier (relevant) and I would like to reach this goal in 3 months (achievable and time bound).’

Instead of ‘I want to be fitter’ you could say:

‘I want to be able to run for 10 minutes on the treadmill and bench press 50kg regularly (specific, achievable and measurable) so that I am overall a healthier person who enjoys going to the gym (relevant).  I will work steadily towards this goal to have it reached by June 2017 (achievable and time bound)’


Write your goals down

The last thing I would suggest that you do with your fitness goals is to write them down.  It’s amazing what actually formulating them and putting pen to paper does, it’s much more effective than just saying them in your head.  If you can, share them with others, either by social media, in a group or just with trusted friends.   This will give you some accountability to really make sure you reach them.  Combine that with SMART goals and you’re well on your way!

About the author


I'm James and I've been a bit of a fitness and gym nut for the past few years. I have just recently become a qualified gym instructor and personal trainer. If I'm not washing my car I'll be in the gym!

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