Setting SMART Fitness Goals

Are you feeling ready to make changes to your life, but not sure where to begin?

You’ve probably heard these a million times. But what makes the difference between those who succeed and make positive changes and those who fail or drop out?

The secret is goal setting. Just saying you want to get fit doesn’t mean much. What does fit look like? Can you measure it?

Creating goals is one way to give yourself direction and motivation, and set yourself up for success.

This is especially true if you want to improve your health and fitness! Setting specific fitness goals can really help to provide the motivation you need to commit to training regularly and eating mindfully.


One of the most common challenges people who are new to exercise face, is motivation!\With goals in place, you have something to return to again and again as a source of motivation. Keep the goal, write it out and paste it where you will see it everyday, whether it’s a specific weight loss or being able to finish a 5k without walking, dangling like a carrot and your client will stay more motivated for longer.

Your goals need to inspire you to take action — so let’s get started with goal setting!


Goal setting can be a powerful way of helping you to achieve what you want in life. Goals are about identifying something that you want, or want to improve, and then focusing on the steps needed to achieve them.


The way you create your goals is so important — if you don’t set yourself the right kind of goals to begin with, you could actually be limiting your success before you even get started. To be effective with this exercise, consider five main focus areas when creating your goals — you can remember this by using the acronym “SMART” to guide you.

SMART goals are:

  1. Specific

  2. Measurable

  3. Achievable

  4. Relevant

  5. Timely

Some studies have shown that working towards specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely goals can improve your chances of achieving success. Here’s an example of a SMART goals — "I want to be being able to do 3 full range of motion pull ups by end of April."


Now you know that setting goals are much more complicated than many people imagine. Anyone can set a goal in seconds, but to do it right takes thought and planning. Successful goal setting also requires avoiding some pitfalls. Learn from the mistakes of others and avoid these common mistakes:

  • Setting negative goals. Don’t let your clients set goals like ‘not being fat’ or ‘never eating junk food again.’ Success is more attainable with positive goals like getting to a healthy weight or eating more vegetables.

  • Being afraid to adjust goals as needed. Adjustment doesn’t mean failure. Ingrain this in your clients because failing is a big de-motivator. Always be prepared to change goals if you find they are not realistic or need more time.

  • Not keeping track of progress. Put your clients’ goals in writing, and then keep a record of their progress. Remember, goals should be measurable. When you measure and record progress, they get to see the benefits of their efforts and this is motivating.

  • Punishing failures. Again, avoid the idea of failure altogether, and whatever you do, don’t encourage punishment. This is not helpful but it is a common reaction to not meeting goals. We have a tendency to punish ourselves. Instead, talk to your client about what went wrong and what they can do differently going forward.

  • Not rewarding achievements. Punishment is counterproductive, but rewards can be helpful and motivating. Celebrate each small goal met and each bit of progress recorded, even if it’s just a high five and kind words.

  • Focusing on perfection. Perfection is pointless, and going for it sets even the most motivated client up for failure. Focus on consistency and progress, not perfection.

What health and fitness goals would you like to work towards next? Comment below!

Download our goal setting sheet below to kickstart setting your health & wellness goals for the year.

SF Goal Setting Sheet
Download PDF • 53KB

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