The importance of goal setting.

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In a previous article on staying motivated, I briefly outlined the importance of goal setting. In order to stay motivated, you need to set a specific goal or target, and you need to train for that target.
If you don’t have a specific reason for training, then don’t expect to get a specific result!
So in this article, we are going to look at how to set a goal, based on the SMART goal setting model below.

S – Specific: State what exactly it is you want to accomplish.
M – Measurable: How will you measure if the goal has been met?
A – Attainable: Goals need to be attainable, not something you will never achieve.
R – Relevant: Is the goal worthwhile? Will it meet your needs?
T – Time bound: What is the time-frame to achieve your goal? This will help you keep motivated!

Using the model above, let’s use an example to broaden our understanding:

Say I want to increase my 5km time. How can I write this as a SMART goal?
S – Specific: I want to increase my 5km run time.
M – Measurable: I want to run 5km in under 24 minutes (currently at 25min).
A – Attainable: Yes, provided I train for it, the goal is realistically attainable.
R – Relevant: Yes, I want to improve my running performance. I am doing it for myself, not for an external reason.
T – Time bound: I wish to accomplish this within 2 months.

So there is our SMART goal. Now we have that, we can make some more action based goals to help us achieve our main outcome. This can include specific training:

  • I will train 2x per week continuous training (30mins – steady pace).
  • I will train 2x per week sprint interval training (25mins – intervals – fast pace).

My training routine could look like this:

Mon (AM) Tue Wed (AM) Thu (PM) Fri Sat (AM) Sun
Intervals Rest Day Continuous Intervals Rest Day Continuous Rest Day
200m Sprint
400m Recovery
x3, rest, x3, rest, x3
30min
Steady Pace
Football Pitch Sprints
Sprint long side
Walk short side
x4, rest, x4, rest, x4
25min
Fast Pace

 

So from my SMART goal I now have a training plan specifically built to improve my running performance. Before you start randomly exercising, think: Why am I doing this? What do I want from my training?
If you want to lose body fat, how much do you want to lose? If you want to get stronger, what movement do you want to get stronger in? Always know what you want.

Now for one of my favourite sayings given to me by a friend and very relevant to this article:
When looking for success, always remember the 5 Ps:

Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance!

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About Author

As a physical education graduate and qualified personal trainer, Mathew is very knowledgable when it comes to fitness. Outdoor training is a personal favourite of Mathew's but he also has a high degree of gym based experience. Location: Carlisle

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