What Can I Do Today?
Interested in starting or revving up your fitness program? Then, grab a piece
of paper and a pencil and let’s get started! One of the best places to begin is
by setting personal goals. Carefully crafted goals can help you achieve what you
really want in life. It’s time well spent for a healthy, fulfilling, and
rewarding life. If you haven’t recently taken the time to set goals, why not do
it today? Think about what is really important to you and then set goals that
are truly meaningful. Review them often — perhaps placing them in your wallet or
on your refrigerator — and if necessary revise them.
When developing goals and a fitness program, it’s best to keep the following
characteristics in mind and make your goals SMART.
Goals need to
be specific. Instead of setting a goal of “getting into better shape,” think
about the specific area you want to improve. For example, if you want to improve
your cardiovascular health so you don’t feel winded after going up a flight of
stairs, a specific fitness goal may be “I will take a 30 minute walk everyday
before dinner instead of watching television.” If you’re interested in building
muscle mass and feeling more toned, a specific goal may be “I’ll go to the gym
two times this week and lift weights — performing 1 set of 8-10 exercises that
conditions my major muscle groups.” (To help you determine appropriate long-term
cardiovascular, weight training, and flexibility goals see Table 1. Exercise
Recommendations from the American College of Sports Medicine).
In order to
evaluate your success, goals need to be measurable. For example, if your goal is
“I’m going to walk 30 minutes everyday after work, ” be sure you can tell
whether you are achieving it by wearing a watch so you can track your time. The
point of setting "measurable" goals is to determine whether you are making
progress on a daily, weekly or monthly basis or whether you need to stop,
re-evaluate, and adjust what you are doing.
A goal needs to
be attainable, yet it also needs to present a challenge. Too easy or too
difficult goals lead to boredom or frustration, respectively. Stop and ask
yourself whether the goal is reasonable based on the amount of time and
resources you have towards achieving it. It is better to break a lofty goal into
“bite sized chunks,” starting slowly and working your way up to a larger goal
then to try too much initially, get discouraged, and then quit.
When setting goals
make sure they are realistic. Set goals that are within your capabilities, and
consider your limitations. Let’s face it, a person who is 50 years old and wants
to look 20 again is just not being realistic. Likewise, trying to train for and
complete a marathon in a week’s time is not realistic for someone who has not
exercised regularly. If goals aren’t realistic, you set yourself up for
Putting a time frame on
the achievement of a particular goal is essential for success. This allows you
to be proactive today. Otherwise, you may become victim to the “I’ll do it
When setting your goals realize that small, gradual changes in your behavior
can have a tremendous impact on your health. For example, adding one extra
30 minute brisk walking session to your weekly routine instead of sitting
will help burn 17,000 extra calories in a 200-pound man over the course of
the year and contribute to cardiovascular health (and about a 5-pound annual
weight loss). For those soda drinkers out there, substituting sparkling water
for one can of regular soda each day, will amount to about a 16-pound
weight loss at the end of the year! Are you getting the picture? It’s these
small, consistent, changes that add up over time and help you achieve your
Give some serious thought to what YOU really want to accomplish in your life.
The more you put into setting SMART goals the closer you become to making your
dreams a reality. Today is a great day to start your journey to be the best
possible you! We wish you the best of success, we know you can do it!
Exercise Recommendations from the American College of Sports Medicine
for Healthy Adults
||3-5 days per week
||55/65 – 90%
|For weight loss2
||7 days per week
||1 set of 8-10 exercises that conditions
major muscle groups*
|2-3 days per week
||40/50 – 85%
||Stretch major muscle groups
||2-3 days per week
* Most people should complete 8-12 repetitions of each exercise;
however for older (older than 50 years) and more frail persons, 10-15
repetitions at a lower intensity may be more appropriate.
†Lower ranges (i.e., 55-64% maximum heart rate and 40-49%
maximum) are intended for individuals who are
- The recommended quantity and quality of exercise for
developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, and
flexibility in healthy adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1998;30:975-91.
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005.US Dept of Health
and Human Services, US Dept of Agriculture. Accessed 3/6/06. Available at www.healthierus.gov/dietaryguidelines.
‡This product is to be used in conjunction with a healthy reduced calorie and
†These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug
Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or
prevent, any disease.