How to be SMART - Sports Medicine Doctor Malta - Dr Danica Bonello Spiteri

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How to be SMART

How to be SMART (First published on vida magazine on March 2013)

Now that the new year rolled in quite nicely, the majority of new year resolutions have most likely gone out of the window. This makes us wonder why we make such resolutions in the first place! Here is some SMART advice that can be applied to any resolution, but specifically aimed towards exercise.

All of us have uttered ‘I must get fitter’ or ‘I must lose weight’,  ‘I must stop smoking’ promises for umpteenth times, yet after a few days, possibly weeks, we resort back to our normal routine.

Your doctor has also advised on the same lines, but you have no idea of how to go about this, and furthermore, you do not have time or financial means to seek professional advice. A lot of the time the failure is from the word go, as the statements above do not have a proper plan to them, hence they are doomed from the outset.

So what is your plan B? You get SMART!

S – Specific: Set specific goals. Rather than ‘I want to get fit’, set targets such as ‘I want to be able to walk for one hour’

: the goal must be measured. To walk for one hour, or to walk for 10km.

. If you have been relatively inactive for a while, do not set yourself high unrealistic goals, but small achievable ones.

: Do not lie to yourself, as you will only let yourself down. Do not try to aim for impossible goals.

set a time limit within which you aim to achieve your goal, for example one month.

The best option is to draw up SMART plans for a long term goal, for example 6 months down the line, but along the way, set different SMART plans on a monthly or weekly basis that will eventually lead to the final goal. Remember that small steps is the way to arrive. When you climb a mountain, you do so step by step. If you look at the high mountain from a distance, taking it in all at once, makes it seem too arduous a task!

An example: "I am currently able to jog 5 minutes without stopping, but I can walk for an hour continuously. I wish to be able to jog for an hour continuously in 6 months’ time."

Here the person is motivated and has set a specific and measurable goal – to run for 1 hour continuously. This is an achievable, realistic target, with a set time frame. It will be helpful to put smaller goals in between, for example,
to be able to alternate 5minutes jogging and 10minutes walking for an hour by the end of the first month.
To be able to complete a 30minute jog at the end of 3 months

Once the final goal is achieved, new SMART goals need to be written up for the next target!  J

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