How to Establish & Monitor Fitness Goals

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  • 0:04 The Importance of…
  • 0:34 SMART Goals
  • 1:44 Setting SMART Fitness Goals
  • 3:42 Maintaining Positive…
  • 4:13 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Confused about how to establish, monitor, and achieve your fitness and nutrition goals? This lesson explains how to use the SMART approach to successfully manage these important objectives.

The Importance of Fitness Goals

Saying we want to make changes in our health is easy; it's the 'doing' part that can be a challenge. How can fitness goals be set and achieved? You have to be smart about it.

Alex just told his soccer coach he wants to be a better player than Lionel Messi, one of the top players in the world. His coach, Dante, responds, ''I love it when my players have goals, but it takes more than an idea to have a good goal. Let's talk about how to set and achieve smart goals.''


Dante explains the concept of SMART goals, which is an acronym for specific, measurable, actionable, reasonable, and time-limited. Each has its own criteria to be met that will keep the goal-setter on track.


To have a realistic chance of achieving your goal, it should be specific. This is how you will know when you have reached it.


By making your goal measurable, you can make your forward progress visible, which helps a lot with motivation.


This refers to specific actions you can take to reach this goal. Most people think winning the lottery would be great, but it is not an actionable goal.


If your long-term goal is lofty and will require much effort, you can break that larger goal into smaller, more reasonable ones.


Having a specific end-time for when the goal should be completed changes a lot of the intermediate goal-making decisions. 'By the end of practice,' 'by next week,' and 'by the end of the season' would all lead to very different action plans for a specific goal.

Setting SMART Fitness Goals

After going over all these criteria for an achievable goal, Alex agrees his overall goal is not SMART, but he can easily break it up into smaller goals that will be achievable in shorter amounts of time. Dante helps him choose personal fitness, nutrition, and physical activity goals that will help move him towards his overall dream goal of being the best soccer player on earth.

Alex has a goal to increase his speed as a soccer player. The faster he runs, the better he can be at scoring or defending. See if you can find evidence of how Alex used SMART in his goals:

  • Specific: Dribble 40 yards, through a designated 15-cone course, in under 8 seconds.
  • Measurable: Times tracked on a chart until Alex breaks the 10 second barrier. His time in the first trial was 16 seconds.
  • Actionable: Dribble with the soccer ball at least 10 minutes every day with varying speed, both feet, and both the inside and outside of each foot.
  • Reasonable: Shave off two seconds from trial every week.
  • Time-Limited: Achieve goal by the end of the month.

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