a SMART way to return to the gym. Goal setting is the key!

back-to-bym

Here in Australia gyms, Pilates Studios and Personal Trainers are starting to open again post our COVID-19 hibernation. I’m sure you’ve already seen plenty of posts and blogs telling you to go slow in getting back into it to avoid injury and to avoid early burn out but we think this is such a valuable time to make some meaningful SMART goals to really set you up for success, a positive mindset and ultimately a great end to the year! Read on to find out what a SMART goal entails, what the readiness to change stages are and a step by step of how to start putting your goal together.

What is a SMART Goal?

A SMART goal is an acronym to assist in making a goal. It stands for:

S – Specific. Make your goal specific and narrow with numbers and real deadlines. 

M– Measurable. Make sure your goal is trackable. Decide how you are going to track your progress and reevaluate when necessary.

A – Achievable. Work towards a goal that is challenging but possible. Make sure to consider your deadline when considering whether your goal is achievable.

R – Relevant and Resonant. Make sure your goal is relevant to your values and any larger objective you have in mind. Make sure it resonates and excites you!

T – Time-based. Give yourself a deadline. Make sure it is realistic but ambitious to motivate you and help you prioritise.

A SMART goal differs from setting a broad goal by giving a comprehensive vision of what your goal looks like and gives you something to action straight away.

Consider your readiness to change…

Before you start jumping into your goal setting, consider where you are at on the “Readiness to Change Scale”. If you are a beginner, your first goal might simply be to try a few different personal trainers for example. This would be the preparation phase. Here’s the full scale so you can identify where you are at specific to the goal you have in mind.

Pre-contemplation.

You are likely considering a change but you occasionally catch yourself saying “Do I really need to…?” You are likely in denial. Try asking someone close to you, who you know will be honest with you. An ideal gym goal for someone who is in the pre-contemplation stage might be “I will do some research on the benefits of regular exercise”.

Contemplation.

At this stage, you know you want to make a change but you haven’t worked out anything beyond this such as barriers (time, cost, fear, etc…). A good goal for this stage might be “I will research some of the gyms and personal trainers in the area” and a seperate goal for this stage might be “I will work out who I’m going to ask to be my support person in helping me achieve this goal”.

Preparation.

You are likely now prepared to try a few things. You’ve mentally overcome your barriers and now you are ready for a small, achievable goal. A ideal goal at this stage might be “I will book in a personal training session with X” and “I will try that class that my friend recommended”. Remember at this stage you are just having a taste to see what you like and what might suit your lifestyle, budget etc…

Action.

This is the stage where you take definitive action towards a change. This might be joining the gym, committing to a 10 class pass at yoga or signing on with a new personal trainer. The goal at this stage might look like “This week after yoga class I am going to buy the 10 week set”.

Maintenance.

At this stage you have been taking action consistently. You now feel ready to work on maintaining the new behaviour over the long term or making the goal a bit more challenging. A good goal for this phase might be “I am going to buy the annual pass to yoga and commit to 2 classes each week”.

How to write your SMART goal.

1. Write down your big picture goal

This is the thing that really moves you and excites you! For example – “I will drop a dress size by the end of the year as we are going on a beach holiday!

2. Write down the first step you need to make in order to achieve your goal

This will become your SMART goal. This is also the time to consider your stage of readiness to change. Example – “I will increase my personal training sessions to 2x per week” This person seems to be in the action stage but may also be in the maintenance phase.

3. Expand the first step to achieving your goal into the SMART acronym

Specific. Example – “I will do Personal Training on Mondays and Thursdays from 7am – 7:45am starting next week”. Notice the Specific included where it would be done, dates and times and how long it would be done for on each occasion.

Measurable Example – “I will cross off the days on a calendar each time I go to Personal Training so I can see my attendance progress. I will get the Personal Trainer to help track my physical progress by measuring me once a month”. For a goal to be measurable you need to come up with something that will be different when you’re finished, something to let you know you’ve completed your goal.

Achievable Example – “I have already been going to Personal Training once a week regularly for over a year so I feel I can easily add one more session in per week.” To effectively ask yourself if this goal is achievable you need to reconsider  what stage of readiness to change you are at surrounding this goal. As noted above this example is at the action stage.

Relevant and Resonant. Check back to your bigger goal. Is this smart goal really in alignment with what you are trying to achieve? Is it in alignment with your values? Great! Now make sure it resonates. If not already, change it to a powerful “I am” styled statement. Imagine when this goal is complete; does it make you want to cheers and high five? Example “I am so excited to go to Personal Training twice per week on Mondays and Thursdays from 7am – 7:45am as I know it is helping me to achieve my bikini body!”

Timely. Example – “My deadline is Thursday the 19th of November 2020 when I will have my final measurements taken and reward myself after training with buying a new bikini for the holiday!”  Write down the exact date and time of the deadline for completion for this goal.

Now you have your goal, congratulations!

4. Next write your goal down with you’re favourite pen on your favourite paper and stick it up all over the place!

Put one on the bathroom mirror, one near the kettle, one in the bedroom where you will see it when you wake up. Ideally stick your goals up in 5 different places. You can have more than 1 goal on each piece of paper but your main or most important goal should stand out the most or be at the top. I use photo paper with a felt tip pin so it stands out and that way I can use different inspiring colours as well. Once you feel like that goal is a reality or you have moved into a different stage of the “readiness to change”, make sure you update your goal by going through the same process.


I hope you take the time to use this approach and that you get as much out of it as we do. We use this a lot around MyoThrive. If you get stuck try searching google images for SMART goals sometimes there are worksheets available that lay it out and all you have to do is fill in the blanks. If you’ve never made a goal before or would love to learn more check out this article. It was a really good read about setting goals. If you’re working on something specific feel free to bring it along to your next Myotherapy session and we can spend the first 5 minutes on it. Click here to find a time that suits you best.


The things your plan and focus your energy on always come into fruition because they are achievable, actionable goals that you truely desire!

Anon.

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