My overall fitness goal is to be strong, energized and durable. To be an example of a woman who possesses a positive body image, not because of what my body looks like but what my body can do: run long distances, serve a fast tennis ball, hike up a steep mountain, go on a day-long horse ride, ski down a steep slope and bike with a trailer full of children. As we compliment our children’s bodies on what they can do instead of what their bodies look like, we vaccinate them against having a low-self esteem. When we radiate self-love and self-acceptance, our children will try to follow our example.
Exercise has numerous benefits. Exercise reduces blood pressure, mild anxiety, depression and the risk of injury. Physical activity prevents osteoporosis, controls body weight and improves self esteem and muscle tone (Fentem, 1994, p. 1291-1295). Obviously, I want to reap all of the benefits that exercise give.
To achieve my goal, I need to be SMART about goal setting. This article about SMART goal setting has been a wonderful tool I have used to achieve better fitness.
In high school, I was able to stay active by participating in high school and community sport organizations. I ran long distance track and was on the varsity tennis team. I played comp soccer and tumbled. On my own time, I would go skiing, biking, walking and hiking with my friends and family. I am grateful for the opportunities I had early on to learn about proper form and prevention of injury during exercise. I am grateful that healthy fitness habits were taught and formed early on in my life.
Once college started, I focused on nursing school and working as a registered nurse. Therefore, I lost sight of some of my fitness habits. After working as a nurse and completing school, I had my first child and decided to stay at home with her. Although family life is just as busy, I have been able to include better fitness habits into my daily life.
I gained motivation and better fitness habits after my first baby by setting a SMART goal.
SMART Fitness Goal:
Specific: Finish a half marathon with my brother and sister by July 30, 2016. Run at least two days a week, with increasing mileage up until the race.
Measureable: 13.1 miles. Train at least twice a week.
Attainable and Accountable: I purchased a Planet Fitness gym membership for a couple of months so I could train in the winter. I would go after my husband and I got our daughter down for bed at night. My husband made it possible for me. Love that man.
Signing up for a race and gym membership helped motivate me to train. If I didn’t train, I wouldn’t be prepared to run 13.1 miles. I also didn’t want my money to go to waste with a gym pass. As a new mom, I was able to regain my strength back and prevent postpartum psychological problems.
Realistic: 13.1 miles was quite the lofty goal for me to achieve. However, I had always wanted to run a half marathon. I was able to run 9 out of the 13.1 miles, which I was very proud of. My next running SMART goals will be 5ks and 10ks. Those distances are the distances that I would be able to train for with children in a jogging stroller.
Timely and Tangible: I signed up in January 2016 to run on July 30, 2016.
As I approach the delivery of my second baby, I have set a new goal for myself.
SMART Fitness Goal:
Specific: Workout each day up until my delivery date excluding Sundays, which reasons are twofold. First, religious and second, because it is important to plan recovery time, especially when weightlifting. Workouts have to be at least 20 minutes long.
Measurable: Either I worked out that day for 20 minutes or I didn’t.
Attainable and Accountable: 20 minutes of low-impact at home workouts.
To keep me motivated and accountable, I made a contest with my husband that whoever worked out the most days up until my delivery date would win a cash prize. I was happy to have this opportunity because we were still practicing some not-so-healthy fitness habits. My husband and I would watch a television show after putting our daughter down to bed. Usually when we sat down to watch a show, snacking before bed was involved. Now, neither of us have missed a day of working out since we started our contest and we workout instead of snacking.
As I approach my delivery date, it is getting harder and harder to find the motivation to workout. This contest has kept me motivated. Some friendly competition with your significant other can go a long way.
Realistic: Low-impact at-home-workouts during the winter months.
Timely and Tangible: 20 minutes a day up until my due date.
I am grateful to have found tools to help me stay motivated. Strength training and yoga during my pregnancy has decreased the musculoskeletal aches and pains that are often experienced during pregnancy. Training has better prepared my body for labor, delivery and postpartum recovery. I’ve experienced less indigestion and reflux as I have worked on maintaining a healthy and fit lifestyle.
Stay in touch, for in a couple months I’ll be sharing my postpartum SMART fitness goal. It’ll be focusing in on weightlifting and training for a distance race. I would love to hear your smart goals.
Disclaimer: I am not a certified health coach or fitness trainer. If you are needing personalized fitness advice, find a certified fitness personnel to help you with your needs.
Fentem, P. H. (1994). ABC of Sports Medicine: Benefits of exercise in health and disease. Bmj, 308(6939), 1291-1295.