SMART Fitness Goal Setting

Have you decided that it is time to make a change but don’t know how to get started? Or have you already made goals but are struggling to obtain them? Whether you are looking to lose 20-lbs, complete a marathon, or just looking to be healthier; not everyone has the same goal. By using the SMART fitness goal model you can learn to create and reach your goals.

SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely—bringing structure and trackability into your goals and objectives.

SMART Fitness Goal Setting


Your goals should be clear and easy to understand. To make a goal specific you can look at the 5 W’s:

  • Who: Who is involved in this goal?
  • What: What do you want to accomplish?
  • Where: Where is this goal to be achieved?
  • When: When do you want to achieve this goal?
  • Why: Why do you want to achieve this goal?

A common goal might be to “Get Healthy”. At first glance, this sounds like a great goal. However, it is too general to track since there are so many ways to get healthy. An alternative could be: I would like to lose weight.


A SMART fitness goal must-have criteria for measuring progress. If there is no criteria to measure then how will you know when you have reached your goal? You will want to ask yourself:

  • How many/much?
  • How do I know if I have reached my goal?
  • What will I be tracking to measure progess.

A goal to “lose weight” is not enough. Making your goal measurable means adding a number.


Before adding a number, you will need to know how high or low to go. A SMART fitness goal must be attainable and achievable. Here you will want to challenge yourself, but still make it something that you can achieve. Ask yourself:

  • Have others achieved this goal?
  • Do I have the resources to achieve this goal? If not, what do I need to get there?
  • Do you need a home gym setup? Or a fitness membership?

Research suggests that a 5-10% weight loss is attainable for most overweight people. For example, your goal could now be I will lose 8% of my body weight.


A realistic SMART fitness goal, can be realistically reached given the available resources and time. Ask yourself:

  • Is this goal something I can reach?
  • Do I have the time and resources to reach this goal?
  • Am I physically and mentally capable of reaching this goal?


If the goal is not time constrained, there will be no sense of urgency and motivation to achieve the goal. Ask yourself:

  • When would you like to complete your goal?
  • Does my goal have an attainable deadline?
  • Maybe you have a long term goal that will be completed in 1-year from now. Can you break this goal up into smaller benchmarks that you can achieve in the short-term to keep you motivated and on track?

Being that healthy weight loss is about 1-2 pounds per week. For our example, we can use 4 months. “I will lose 8% of my body weight in 4 months.


Often times, we set ourselves up by being vague and general in our goals. In order to reach our goals, we must be SMART—specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.

Try setting SMART fitness goals today and you will see that you are able to push yourself further, give yourself direction and create an organized path for growth.

Cover Photo by Scott Webb from Pexels