The idea is that you should be SMART about your goals. Goals should be:
Specific: What am I going to do? How am I going to do it? Why is it important to do?
Measurable: Figure out how to measure progress, then keep track of that progress.
Attainable: Don't set goals that are out of my reach -- making a goal to be a world-class basketball player isn't something I'm going to be able to achieve, no matter how committed I am.
Realistic: The learning or progress curve isn't going to be a vertical slope, but it'll be there. The skills or abilities are available to me, even if it involves a lot of work.
Time-oriented: Set a deadline for achieving the goal. This is motivation and urgency all at once.
In looking at how I'll apply this to the goal of being ready for a three-day, it seems like I don't really know exactly what that means, "ready." I'd appreciate any feedback anyone out there has about what it means to be three-day fit -- any concrete markers I should be using? Given that, I thought it might be a better idea to break this into smaller goals at first.
Instead of joining a gym right now -- I will, but right this second it's not really financially feasible -- I ordered an exercise DVD that a few friends have reviewed well, Jillian Michaels' 30-Day Shred. So my first goal is going to be this:
Start Working Out Again
- Use the 30-Day Shred DVD. Do the 20-minute program 3 days a week for 30 days, starting Saturday 1/7/2012. Because it's a do-able, convenient program with a comprehensive approach and different ability levels. (Specific)
- Work out 3 days a week. Move from Level 1 to Level 2 by the end of the 30 days. What other fitness-related measurement could I use here? I don't want to focus on weight, though that'll be a good thing; fitness is the more important thing. Suggestions? (Measurable)
- The DVD should arrive on Friday, 1/6/12. I have everything I need to go through the workout. This is the sort of thing designed for people like me. (Attainable)
- I'm accepting that this is going to be tough, so I'm not committing to work out every day or jump straight to Level 2. If I need to modify an exercise to accommodate my fitness ability or my bum shoulders, I will do so. (Realistic)
- I will commit to do this program 3 days a week for 4 weeks, from Saturday 1/7/12 to Saturday, 2/4/12. (Time-oriented)
That Saturday I'll assess how far I've come, whether I've met my goal, and what the next goal ought to be, fitness-wise.