SETTING SMART GOALS
When it comes to wanting to improve your health, it is always a good idea to plan out what you aim to achieve, for example, losing a certain amount of weight or achieving a certain amount of non-sedentary time a day. Goal setting is one of the most common strategies used to increase physical activity, however, goals often fail to be met on account of being ambiguous or unrealistic. This can be avoided by setting SMART goals.
SMART is an acronym to remind you how to set a goal that maps out exactly what you need to do. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
• Specific: By making a goal specific it allows it to be clear and easy to understand. Instead of saying “my goal is to become healthier”, target a specific area of health you wish to improve, such as increasing your moderate activity.
• Measurable: The goal also needs to be measurable, by putting a number on your goal such as how many kgs of weight you wish to lose, or how many minutes of light activity you want to achieve, it allows for easier tracking of how close you are to the target and means you can see your objective progress.
• Attainable: It is important that the goal is attainable; there is no point in setting a goal that is impossible to reach as it will lead to a decrease in motivation. It is best to start small and add more challenging goals once you achieve the smaller ones.
• Relevant: Relevance means the goal needs to be specific to you and your lifestyle, choose something that you want to achieve, rather than something that someone else is encouraging you to achieve. Keep in mind the facilities and resources available to you, as well as time commitments. You may find that you struggle to find the time to fit in a long activity session, so you could focus on decreasing sedentary time instead, aiming to get up and move for a couple of minutes every hour.
• Time-bound: Making a goal time-bound means adding a clear start and end point. This helps with motivation and can encourage a final push once you get close to the deadline. For example, creating a goal to meet the optimum minutes of moderate bouts of physical activity this week (300 minutes).
Research has found that setting goals using the SMART principle can be highly effective, however they can lead to higher pressure which does not always work for everyone. An alternative to SMART goals are open goals. These involve setting a time frame and seeing how well you can do within that time, meaning you could exceed expectations. It is important to explore what kind of goals work for you and allow yourself to adapt and change the five dimensions of physical activity to best suit your personal preference.
At KiActiv® we utilise goal setting by allowing users to plan their activities for the future and see what impact adding in an extra activity would have on their multidimensional physical activity profile. The KiActiv® platform makes it easy to track and measure your progress and set goals that suit you and your lifestyle, whether that be SMART goals or open goals.
The KiActiv® Team