Be SMART About Your Fitness Goals « Date Camp
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Be SMART About Your Fitness Goals

By Paula Stephens, Exercise Physiologist and Wellness Coach


The number one New Year’s Resolutions all center on improving one’s health. Whether it’s quitting smoking, losing weight, getting fit or simply eating better, health tops the list every year.  Sound familiar?

Unfortunately 88% of all those resolutions will fail – usually by the end of January.  By being more purposeful and intentional, you will improve your chances of success and increase your body-image confidence.

65 - Paula Stephens

As a fitness and wellness coach, the first thing I notice about resolutions is that they are not action-based. Resolutions are statements (resolves) based on identifying something we don’t like about ourselves, or a way that we perceive we haven’t met society’s norms.

Now, that is not to say these ‘resolves’ are not in your best interest.  Quitting smoking would immeasurable improve your quality of life and improve how you see yourself.  But they start out as a negative with no action to support forward momentum.

So how do you begin from a place of positive change and be action-oriented?  You become SMARTer!  You might have heard about or used the SMART strategy in other areas of your life, but it is especially useful when you want to increase your chances of success in regards to personal development.  Using this type of goal setting, you remove vague obstacles and replace them with clear intentions.  Here is the breakdown:

S = Specific    M = Measureable    A = Action-Based   R = Realistic    T = Time Bound

52 - ChristineUsing my client Mary’s resolution of “I want to lose weight this year,” I will illustrate how to use SMART goals to clearly define what you want to accomplish. We start by redefining her resolution.  Her desire to “lose weight” is more a reason to set a goal, not the goal itself – this is an important distinction.

S = Specific:  I want to lose 15 pounds.

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M = Measureable:  I will weigh myself at the beginning and once a week after that.

A = Action-Based:  I will track my calories using an online calorie counter and do aerobic exercise 5 times a week for 30 minutes.

R = Realistic:  Losing one pound a week is attainable for me and good for my health.

T = Time Bound:  I will start on January 7, 2013 and complete it by May 7, 2013.

As Mary’s fitness coach, I will review her progress each week and evaluate what is working.  We will discuss why she either did or did not succeed each week. I will also have Mary sign the bottom of her SMART Goal and put it where she will see it daily. She can use it as the background on her phone or computer.

Use this SMART strategy to accomplish any goal in your life, including meeting your dating goals!  Now it’s your turn to change your ‘resolves’ into your ‘in progress’ goals!

Paula Stephens 2Paula Stephens has a Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology. She currently teaches at Metro State University in Denver, Colorado, and runs the Campus Recreation Fitness Department. Paula nurtures her spirit outdoors by trail running or mountain biking, but yoga also refills her spirit. Contact Paula at


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