By Joseph W. A CT Certified Personal Trainer

What is the REAL Reason Why You Are Here?

5 Tips on How to Set Achievable Exercise Goals

When someone comes to me interested in training, the first thing I ask them is, “What are your goals?” Most of the time they have no idea what their real goal is. Example, a lot of people take a look in the mirror and decide that they no longer like the way they look. Okay, but why? What is it that you do not like? BE SPECIFIC!

There are 5 principles to goal setting that I will go over in detail and those are making sure your goal is SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ADJUSTABLE, REALISTIC and TIME-BASED.

Your goal must be SPECIFIC

Far too many people go to a gym and speak with a Personal Trainer in CT and say “I want to lose weight.” or, “I want to run a marathon” Okay, fine. But the real question is, how much weight do you want to lose or how soon do you want to run this marathon? Do you want to lose 5 pounds, 10 pounds, 100 pounds or any where in between?  In order to achieve a goal you must know exactly what it is you are trying to achieve.

Can this goal be MEASURED?

So you have narrowed your focus. Let’s say that you want to lose 10 pounds. Now let’s narrow it even further. How soon do you want to lose the weight? Your trainer will give you an idea as to what he or she thinks is a safe amount of weight to lose in a time period but not everyone can move at the same pace. Some can handle more exertion and stress than others. Your goal needs to be able to be documented to track your progress through the weeks or months it may take to reach your goal. This is so that when you notice abnormalities in your progress, you will have an idea as to why this occurred. Example, you want to achieve your goal of losing 10 pounds within 10 weeks and you have been going to the gym consistently and losing about 1 pound per week. At the end of a week you step on the scale and notice that you have gained 2 pounds from last week. Because you are tracking you might remember the double cheese burger you ate from your local fast food restaurant, or that you haven’t been moving around as much around the house or doing your regular errands for whatever the reason may be. Point being that, when you document your progress you will have something to refer to, beyond memory, every single week.

Goals can be ADJUSTED

Goals need to be adjustable for the simple fact that anything can happen on any given day. Let’s say you are planning on running a marathon but you encounter an injury, maybe a sprained ankle, which will inhibit your ability to run the whole marathon. An injury does not mean that your goal is ruined, an injury means adjustment. Don’t be afraid to adjust. You can adjust your goal of a marathon to a half marathon or a cycling event or any event that you choose. The same goes for weight loss. Maybe you wanted to lose 20 pounds in 3 months but your progress isn’t as fast as you had hoped. adjust that time table to 6 months and see how that works.

Can you REALLY do it?

Let’s face it, something’s are just either A unsafe or B unrealistic regardless of safety. If you have never run ran a 5k, it’s very unlikely that you are going to complete an Iron Man competition. You can set long term goals and short term goals. Make those easier events your short term goal and the tougher events your long term goal.

Make sure your goal is TIME-BASED

Give yourself a time table in which you want to complete this goal. This can be motivation for you to reach your goal. No one likes to fail, but failure can also be a motivator as well. Lets say that you wanted to lose 10 pounds in 10 weeks but at the end of those 10 weeks you have only lost 8. You failed to reach your goal, but this does not mean that losing 10 pounds is not attainable. Set another time table; A much shorter one to lose those last 2 pounds. Both time and failure can act as motivators to reach a goal.


  • Make sure your goals are:
    1. Specific
      • What exactly are you trying to achieve?
    2. Measureable
      • Track your progress from week to week or month to month
    3. Adjustable
      • Anything can happen, be prepared to adjust for the unexpected
    4. Realistic
      • Can this goal really be achieved? And if it can, can it be done safely?
    5. Time-based
      • Set a time table as a motivator to reach your goal

Joseph W. is a CT Certified Personal Trainer, who here at Horizon demonstrates many different training techniques! Our Horizon staff has a wide range of experience and expertise to help you REACH and OBTAIN your goal! Contact us today for a free consultation and information! 860.628.7776