Hey Angels and Alphas,
We all know walking for weight loss seems like a simple habit. It’s just about walking 30 minutes a day, on most days. Sounds easy, right? But anyone who has tried developing this habit knows that taking even one walk a day can be a challenge if you have a busy life. Furthermore, once you do establish walking as a daily habit, it can be one of the easiest things to skip on.
If you’ve already hit that point where you’ve seen noticeable changes to your health and weight due to your walking routine, having a goal tied to your routine can be a massive boost to your motivation and can turn your walking into a form of training.
Regular, daily exercise you’re getting with the purpose of becoming fit must have a goal attached to it – so let’s learn how to set a SMART goal for your walking routine.
HOW TO SET A SMART GOAL
Once you have the habit down and you’re able to dedicate about 30 minutes of your day solely to walking, let’s return to the golden standard of setting SMART goals.
This means the goals you set have to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Here’s how you’ll be able to use this framework with a walking routine goal.
SPECIFIC: Decide what you’re aiming to achieve with your walking. Do you want to cover a certain distance each day, get your steps in for the day, or lose a specific amount of weight? You should try to make your goal as specific as possible, for example “walking at a 16-mile pace for 5 kilometers.”
MEASURABLE: Obviously, if your main goal is to lose weight, you might think measuring something such as the number on the scale will accurately measure your success, but that’s not always the case. Try to make your specific goal measurable, or measure it by how consistent you’re able to be with a specific behavior or activity.
ACHIEVABLE: If you’re just now starting from scratch, don’t think your best decision is going to be going into an all-out intense routine. A good goal is one that stretches beyond the abilities you currently possess, but it’s also one that you can imagine yourself achieving.
If your first reaction to your goal is “I’ll never be able to do that”, then you will want to first try smaller goals along the way and gradually build up to higher intensities. Achievable also means you’ll be able to clearly see the steps you have to success, and those should all be things that are doable in your everyday life and sustainable given your lifestyle.
RELEVANT: If your goal is to walk about 14 hours a week, you might think that’s impossible on a full-time job or a busy schedule that includes kids, work, hobbies, responsibilities, and more. Many of us naturally fall into the trap of choosing a fitness goal that feels good, but doesn’t come naturally to us given the lifestyle we have. Ask yourself – do you have the ability and capacity to train for the goal you’ve set?
TIME-BOUND: You can always set a “date to do X by” or you can look for something with a little more significance. For someone who prefers a serious deadline, you might want to consider booking something that forces you to be in your top walking shape and just work back from that date. This could be a long tour of the city that’s preferably self-guided or a long hike somewhere in the mountains. Whatever it is, get a friend with you and write it down on the calendar for extra accountability.
Once you have your SMART goal in your mind, you can begin to plan your walks based on the goal you’ve set. Once you have your date-based goals set, look at the smalls steps you have to take to achieve them.
If it’s going to take you 4 hours to cover 12 miles, you now have your goal distance and time in mind. And always consider your terrain – tough hikes take much, much longer than you initially think they will. From there, think about how you should be training for that terrain. Maybe this includes doing extra walks or walking longer distances on the weekends.