Layne Scoggins, Certified Personal Trainer

Many people work out to attain “their” goal. But what is a goal? Is a goal an idea? A thought? According to Webster’s dictionary, a goal is “something that you are trying to achieve.”

So once you know what your goal is, how do you get there? I once heard NFL coach Herb Edwards say, “A goal without a plan is a wish.” I love that! Sorry, folks. Wishes don’t come true. Otherwise, I’d be the starting shortstop for the LA Dodgers :).

In order to reach your goal, you need an action plan. I’m an ACE certified trainer, so I’ll have my ACE folks help us out. A goal needs to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Let’s say I want to lose five pounds. That’s specific. I’ll get on the scale on June 1 to get my starting weight. That’s measurable. Is my goal attainable? I think can I lose five pounds. Is it realistic? Sure. But in what amount of time? When you make a goal for yourself it needs to be very clear. I want to lose five pounds in 30 days. Then ask if that’s realistic? And can I attain that goal? Personally, I like to make three month, six month, and yearly goals.

In his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey says those people write down their goals. I totally agree. Seeing my goals written down on the scrap piece of paper taped to my fridge helps keep me on track. Sounds daunting? It can be. Perhaps start small. “I’m going to exercise for 30 minutes a day, five times a week for a month.” That’s doable for most of us, I think.

So that is the exercise portion of your weight loss goal, but weight loss happens in the kitchen even more than in the gym. People have what I think are somewhat unrealistic expectations about losing weight. They think if they go to the gym all the time, they’ll lose weight. It doesn’t happen that way. Clearly exercise is a huge part of it, but not all of it. You have to make good choices in the kitchen and when eating out.

One of the best places to start is by getting a reference point. Weight loss, increase in strength, and added flexibility can all be measured by setting up a fitness evaluation with one of our trainers. Whatever your fitness or health goals, make sure they are SMART.