The “SMART” way to achieve your fitness goals

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  • SMART goals can help you achieve your fitness goals.

  • Students run on the treadmills at the Recreation Activity Center at Georgia Southern University.

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Cecilia Robinson

“I’m going to lose 100 pounds this year!”

“I’m going to go to the gym every day for two hours!”

“I’m going on a no-carb, no-sweets diet for six months!”

You’ve heard them. We’ve all heard them.

Whether it’s your best friend asking you to go on a diet, or that little voice in your head that’s been nagging you ever since you tried on those pants from high school, New Year’s fitness resolutions seem to make a reappearance in American culture every year.

Every year on Dec. 31, people all over America create these resolutions, but according to an article by the Huffington Post, only eight percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions actually keep them.

George Doran, former director of Corporate Planning for Washington Water Power Company, created a strategy that will help you maintain your New Year’s resolution.

Doran established the acronym “S.M.A.R.T Goals” in a paper titled “There’s a S.M.A.R.T Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives.” In this short piece, Doran explains how to create and achieve goals that are “Specific,” Measurable,” Achievable,” “Relevant” and “Time-Related” (S.M.A.R.T)

Below are brief, step-by-step explanations of Doran’s S.M.A.R.T strategy. Try applying them when creating your New Year’s resolution. You might find yourself using it in all other areas of your life as well.


Specify the area you would like to improve. Instead of saying “I’m going on a diet,” you could tell yourself that you’re going to eat “x” amount of carbs in a day or week or eat “x” amount more fruits and vegetables with every meal.

“Nutrition is very, very individualized,” Kris Thompson, fitness graduate student, said. Picking a random diet off Twitter, then, might not be the best idea.

Kris suggested making a meal plan that caters to your specific body type. explains the three different types of bodies and way you can stay fit due to your particular type.


Making your fitness New Year’s resolution something you can measure can help you see the progress through the process. As a college student, I know it can be difficult to keep an exact measurement of everything you eat and do in one day let alone over a long period of time.

One good tip that I have come across is meal preparation. “Meal prepping,” as it is commonly referred to, not only saves you time because your meals are ready-to-go, but it also helps you keep track of what you eat.


Saying you are going to the gym every day for two hours when in the past three years you’ve gone maybe twice is a resolution that could lead you straight to the hospital. Making checkpoints throughout your process could help turn your dream into a reality. Remember you must learn to walk before you can run.

“Many people get discouraged when they don’t see results right away,” Thompson says.

Creating checkpoints along the way can help with this obstacle because they allow you to see your progress while providing you with encouragement on the journey to your big goal. Having incentives to go along with your checkpoints will make tackling that those checkpoints even more rewarding.


Set a goal relevant to your health history, ability, budget, body type, interest and schedule. Give yourself time to develop. Kathleen Agbozine, Exercise Science major, junior gave the advice to not compare yourself to others. Set a routine that best fits you. Give yourself time to adjust to a few health changes of that routine and build from there. Our RAC is a great resource to find personal trainers and fitness advisors to help you create a perfectly individualized routine.


Whether you put a notification on your phone or write it down on a calendar, pick a date and stick to it. If you are focusing on losing weight this year, break it up into weeks. Have your desired amount of weight loss ready. Pick a day and weigh yourself on that day to check your progress.