One of the most difficult aspects of exercising to is the motivation to keep pushing on even when you feel tired or exhausted. Many a novice exerciser has been overwhelmed by the threat of having so much to worry about and so little time and simply wanting to use your time to the max. That is where the idea of setting and achieving goals comes into play.

Setting and achieving is the basis for growing and learning. It has been said “When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported back, the rate of improvement accelerates.” – Thomas S Monson

It is necessary to set goals to improve, especially in exercising where it can sometimes feel like there hasn’t been any improvement at all, despite all the time that you have put into running, jumping, and swimming.

One of the most effective ways to set goals is to use the SMART method. Meaning goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound. Setting goals by using these criteria often lead to improvement that can be seen and felt.

A specific goal is a goal that is not something as vague as going to the gym once a day, but saying that you are going to go to the gym from this time to this time and work on a specific muscle group. This can eliminate the time that is wasted on indecision.

A measurable goal is a goal that can be measured, which seems pretty obvious, but simple saying that you are going to improve your overall fitness does not count as a measurable goal. Rather, try for a goal that you can mark off once completed. This not only makes a goal easier to manage, but helps you feel a sense of accomplishment once you have obtained or completed the goal.

An attainable goal is something that is not too far out there that it can never be accomplished. Goals like wanting to develop a six pack in a week are most likely not going to happen. Attainable goals can be reached by simply sitting down and evaluating what you really think you can do and committing to do it.

A relevant goal is choosing a goal that is will actually have a relevant result. Choosing a random goal like seeing how many chicken nuggets you can fit into your pocket is most likely not something that will have any lasting value.

Finally, a time bound goal simply means having a time set for when the goal is to be accomplished. A goal that is time bound could be losing two pounds in two weeks. There is a time limit to the goal that not only adds a little extra pressure, but keeps the goal ever present on the mind as the time for accomplishing it grows closer. It is more of less a deadline.

Goals are such an important part of not only exercise but life in general. It has also been said that for some there will come a time when we will look back on life and realize that there is was so much more we could have done if only we had set goals.