Another new year is here, and with that come high fitness expectations that your corporate wellness participants place upon themselves. When members come to us with New Year’s resolutions, our first step is to teach them how to set appropriate goals that will lead to success. Once you have the general picture of what your clients are hoping to achieve as well as why it’s important to them, you can help in fine-tuning their goals.
Let’s use the SMART acronym model to walk through goal-setting for the typical New Year’s client who says, “I want to lose weight.”
S = Specific
Steer away from vague goals. Not only will it help keep your client focused and on track, but it will help you, as the professional, create an appropriate exercise program for them. In our example, since the client’s goal is weight loss, she could say, “I want to lose 50 pounds.”
M = Measureable
You can’t set a goal without knowing how to measure success. Preferably, you’ll use numerical data. In our example, we can measure pounds. If a client has a goal of “getting in shape,” have him or her choose once specific item that can be measured, such as blood pressure or minutes spent walking.
A = Attainable
Setting a goal that can’t be attained in the first place is bound to fail and lead to discouragement. Tell clients when certain goals may not be possible or healthy for their bodies. Let’s pretend that for our fictitious client, a weight loss of 50 pounds would be a stretch, at best, and possibly put her in an underweight category for her body frame. We could suggest that a different amount might be more attainable, so her new goal is, “I want to lose 30 pounds.”
R = Realistic
Here is where you can help your clients evaluate whether their goals are realistic for their individual lifestyles. If other priorities or any other issues might get in the way of achieving a goal, you could scale down the goal into smaller mini-goals in the beginning.
T = Time-bound
There must be an end date to the goal; otherwise members can easily get distracted and push aside the goal until before they know it, another New Year’s is here. Set a date and mark it on the calendar to keep a constant focus on progress. The more lofty the goal, the longer the timeframe that should be dedicated to accomplishing it. Our client’s complete goal is now, “I want to lose 30 pounds by July 30, 2012.”
Smart goals = success!
Want to find out how NIFS staff in your corporate fitness can make a difference for your employees? Check out our case studies.