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What are Smart Goals?

S – Specific – exact statement of what is to be improved. M – Measurable – numerical value attached if possible. A – Achievable – challenge but with a reasonable chance of success. R – Rewarding – goal must come from client not trainer. T – Timely – specific time frame attached.
The word goals with a bullseye
© CQUniversity 2021

Using SMART Goals


S – Specific – exact statement of what is to be improved

M – Measurable – numerical value attached if possible

A – Achievable – challenge but with a reasonable chance of success

R – Rewarding – goal must come from client not trainer

T – Timely – specific time frame attached.

SMART Goal Examples

  • I will lose 5 kgs, from 85kg to 80kg in the next 6 weeks
  • I will decrease my waist measurement by 4cms, from 94cm to 90cm in the next 6 weeks
  • I will come to the gym three times a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) for the next 6 weeks
  • I will increase my 10RM from 25kgs to 30kgs in the next 6 weeks
  • I will decrease the number of Red Bulls I drink from 3 to 1 per day, for the next 5 days
  • I will decrease the number of takeaway meals I have each week from 4 to 1 for the next 5 days.

SMART Goals – Short-Term and Long-Term

For best results, set short-term (6 weeks) and long-term (6 months +) goals to allow for more motivation and regular check-in points to ensure they are on track using the SMART goal format.

Tip! The type of goal may vary between health, fitness, and behaviour.

Types of Personal Goals:

  • Self – referenced – based on self-improvement
  • Competitive – based on comparison to others
  • Mastery – develop new skills.

Setting Goals – Common Mistakes:

  • Not specific ‘looking good’ and ‘feeling better’ are determined by the person’s current state of mind and can easily shift depending on the day
  • Too big Clients can get excited when they decide to make positive changes to their health and fitness that they aim too big too soon. Which is why a short-term goal will help control this issue
  • Too Many It is important to keep it simple. Choose one goal to focus on as opposed to trying to conquer everything all at once
  • Not Written Writing down a goal holds you more accountable and ‘seals the deal’. Giving the client extra motivation.

Barriers and Motivation

  • Important to identify reliable predictors of exercise adherence
  • Allows healthcare providers to effectively intervene and change patterns of physical activity in sedentary elderly
  • Sedentary levels are linked to osteoporosis, obesity, depression, coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and colon cancer
  • Activity is the most important health behaviour in preventing the onset of and increasing the severity of many chronic diseases.


  • Believe they are too old and frail to engage in physical activity
  • Exercise is not viewed as a prescription medicine
  • See all chronic health issues as barriers
  • Too time-consuming (including travel)
  • See symptoms of exercise as negative – sweating laboured breathing, muscle soreness, fatigue
  • Pain or the perception of pain
  • Injury worries
  • Memory deficits, poor concentration, dementia
  • No access to safe exercising environs
  • No suitable exercise facility
  • No suitable ‘classes’ available
  • No knowledge of benefits
  • Exercise not valued or deemed necessary
  • Not seen as important for health
  • May have bad memories of exercise from childhood.


Exercise needs to be long-term for true benefits to be realised. Those who have the most to gain are usually the least likely to participate.

Role of General Practitioner

Play an important role as older adults respect their opinions and are influenced by their advice.

GP’s have barriers also:

  • Lack of time during the office visit
  • Limited reimbursement for preventative counselling
  • Lack of training and perceived effectiveness as a behavioural counsellor.


  • Barriers can often serve as motivators
  • Deteriorating health/ onset of a new condition
  • More time
  • Doctor’s recommendation
  • More access to information re the health benefits of exercise
  • Living closer to appropriate recreational areas and facilities
  • Moving to a climate more conducive to activity
  • Self efficacy.
© CQUniversity 2021
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Personal Trainer's Toolkit: Developing Fitness Programs for Older People

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