As January approaches many regular gym goers are dreading the rush of new year’s resolution gym members that come with every new year. The first few weeks can be awful for finding a piece of free gym equipment and what is usually a one hour workout can turn into a seemingly ineffective two hour session. However, within a few weeks this rush starts to fade away, which is actually the part of this chaotic month that upsets me the most. The drop off, the unsuccessful resolutions.
But why are they unsuccessful? Is it the crazy rush that scares them away or is it a lack of knowledge and support? They have their resolutions, i.e. ‘goals’ but maybe this is more of a "dream" which needs some help to turn it into a more realistic goal.
When they do not achieve anything or see results within the first few weeks, it disheartens them along with the queues for equipment and not knowing what to do in front of a crowded room and grumpy regulars. This is where it is important to provide them with a journey, not for them to jump in to the deep end. As a fitness professional, you can step up and help these individuals set their SMART goals.
What is a SMART Goal?
A SMART goal is defined as one that is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Below is an indication of what each criterion involves in a SMART goal.
The goal should explain exactly what they want to do and clearly define the intended result. This is the ‘what’, ‘why’, and ‘how’ of the SMART goal.
Goals need to be measurable to give them the confirmation they need to show they have achieved their target. The entire statement should be a measure for an overall goal. However, there are usually short-term goals built within it. Planning their process in a specific timeframe with numerical targets allows you to carry out these steps for something that may have seemed impossible when you started.
Example: “To increase my squat by 5kg in 4 weeks”.
Goals have to be achievable; they should be challenging enough to take your member out of their comfort zone but defined well enough so that they can accomplish them. If the goals seem impossible to achieve, for example “I want to lose four stone in four weeks”, they are likely to give up or not even attempt to accomplish them. Achievable goals are very motivating, you just need to support them with the knowledge, skills and abilities to accomplish them.
Your client's goals need to be meaningful to them. Just because a friend or family member has set a goal, it does not make it the right goal for them personally. Get them to choose their own personal motivation, something that is important to them. This is what will keep them going on their journey to attain this goal, not someone else.
Giving your members a time frame increases the likelihood that they will achieve your goal due to the fact they know the clock is ticking. It gives them an end date, a big target to hit, and creates a sense of urgency between the current reality and the vision of the goal.
Example: “By June 1st, 2016, I want to run a 10km race”. OR “By July 1st I want to lose 1 stone”.
Writing SMART goals is very important for achieving individual goals. This is where fitness professionals can really influence these new year’s resolution crowds. Assist them in the approach that they need to take to plan their success for 2016. Get their goals set in stone and provide them with the information they need in order to accomplish them.
Good luck for the new year!