Goal setting is an essential strategy for exercise behavior change and adherence, and the importance of short-term process goals for fostering intrinsic motivation. The purpose of goal setting is to accomplish a specific task in a specific time frame. Goals can be as simple and time limited as making a sandwich for lunch and as complicated and encompassing as earning an advanced degree. Goal setting provides a plan of action that focuses and directs activity and emphasizes a clear link between behavior and outcome.
Effective Goal setting:
-- Goals should be behavioral, specific. and measurable. Plans are easier to make if the goal is stated in behavioral terms. For example, a goal to walk 3 days a week for 30 minutes a day is easier to implement than a goal to get in shape. Specific, measurable goals make it easier to monitor progress, make adjustments, and know when the goal has been accomplished.
-- Goals need to be reasonable and realistic. A goal might be achievable but personal and situational constraints cam make it unrealistic. Losing 2 lb a week through diet and exercise is reasonable for may people but it may be almost impossible for the working parent of 3 who has minimal time for exercise and cooking. Unrealistic goals set the participant up to fail, which can damage self-efficacy. Both short term and long term goals should be included.
Effective Goals should aim for actions such as lifting weights, rather than outcomes such as losing weight.
Goals need to be flexible because let's be realistic, things happen! Our lives need to flexible and when and if we don't reach a daily goal a sense of failure could be felt and we don't need that negativity to get you down. So the sooner you realize that life happens and problems arise in our everyday lives the sooner you'll feel good about working around roadblocks. Just don't make it a "habit". Get back on track when you reach your side street.
Be able to measure your goal. Whether that be in miles, minutes, reps, and so on. Make sure your goals are possible. I know i wouldn't set myself a goal to run a mile in 3 minutes. That's just not achievable but maybe starting with running for 2 minutes straight, walking for a minute, running for 3 minutes, walking for a minute until i hit 2 miles is more achievable and gives me that little break so i don't give up.
Challenge yourself. Your goals should challenge you but bot so overwhelming you continually do not reach your goals.
Reward yourself for specific accomplishments. Set up benchmarks for rewards.
Make a time frame for yourself. Make these time frames for both short and long term goals.
Make your goal setting sheet a CONTRACT with yourself. Sign it, sign it with your spouse, your children, your workout partner. HOLD YOURSELF ?>. Post it on social media, let others know that you are working on yourself to better your health and you want their support or maybe they would want to join you. You can never have enough support.
A great goal setting contract:
Goal: To walk 10,000 steps each day for a full week. Time frame: Week ending April 7 2016.
Benefits of meeting the goal: Have more energy, lose weight, take time for me, take mind of stress, lower my risk for heart disease and be a better role model for my children.
To reach my goal i will:
1. Wear a pedometer every day and record daily steps
2. Walk for at least 20 minutes during my lunch break and 20 minutes after supper
3. take the stairs at work instead of the elevator
4. walk around the field during my daughter's soccer practice.
1. Keep a spare pair of walking shoes and exercise clothes at work.
2. Ask my husband to walk with me.
3. Tell my friends at work about my plan.
4. Create an upbeat playlist to listen to.
Barriers and countermeasures:
1. Forget my pedometer, I will estimate my steps from other days with similar levels of walking and activities.
2. Snow and ice: I will walk on the treadmill
3. Fatigue: I will remind myself that a short, brisk walk is better than no walk at all.
My first short term goals:
I will wear my pedometer for at least 5 days this week and record my steps each night before i go to sleep. This will help me see how many more steps i have to walk to achieve 10,000 each day.
For a printable goal setting form click here: