In a recent interview on Colorado Public Radio, mountain climbing guide Jeff Evans from Boulder, CO discussed his most recent adventure with 11 wounded veterans from the United States Armed Services in the Himalayan Mountains while being filmed for a documentary. Of the men and women veterans he was guiding, one was blind, 3 had lost limbs and all 11 had suffered mental and emotional trauma due to their experiences in combat. In conjunction with filmmaker Michael Brown, Evans had to determine which mountain to select for their climb. He stated in the interview on CPR that one of the largest challenges lay in selecting a hard enough climb, yet one still potentially attainable by all. He finally settled on 20,161-foot Lobuche, but most significant in this discussion was that Evens inherently understood the essential and positive impact of a pre-established goal.
While most of us are not planning which Himalayan mountain to climb, we all face physical challenges that may seem as large and as daunting. Key to choosing an appropriate goal is exactly the same challenge faced by filmmakers of the documentary Higher Ground. Goals ought to be slightly outside of one’s comfort zone – a challenge; in a sport one has a direct interest in or relevant experience. The Livestrong Foundation has posted some guidelines on their website offering guidance in setting wellness goals. The S.M.A.R.T. Method helps to set solid, tangible goals for those seeking to push themselves farther, harder and longer.
The ‘S’ is for ‘Specific Goals’. Livestrong recommends that annually, one sit down with a pen and piece of paper to write out specific physical goals, such as, “Participate in a triathlon,” or “Ride my bike to work 3 days per week,” or “Lose 15lbs.” Pin these goals up in a prominent place at home or in the office, where they are easily visible. While life is not set in stone, try to lay out a plan, in writing, showing how to attain these goals, allowing flexibility for the days when life simply does not go to plan.
‘M’ represents ‘Measurable;’ tracking progress toward the goals helps sustain motivation. Keeping a log online or on a paper calendar where one makes a note of the goal reached each day helps visualize the work invested in attaining these goals and inspires one to work harder. Many smartphones today have mobile apps with which one can track their goals and progress with detailed breakdowns of calories burned and miles run, walked or biked. RunKeeper, for example, tracks all forms of physical exercise and sends an email when one achieves a personal best. Users can also go online to RunKeeper’s website and track total miles achieved and total calories burnt in specific months.
‘Achieve’ stands for the letter ‘A.’ Physical goals must be realistic. Like Mr. Evans, as one sets forth his or her physical goals, these goals must be physically attainable without endangering self, or risking serious injury. Consultation with a doctor during an annual physical is a good time to discuss these goals and their implications upon one’s health and overall wellbeing.
Don’t forget the essential letter, ‘R’ for ‘Reward.’ With each milestone reached on the way to achieving these goals, allow some kind of reward. For dieters perhaps a special dessert; for runners or cyclists perhaps a new piece of equipment, still others may indulge in a new piece of clothing for their tighter, slimmer self.
Last, but certainly not least is ‘T’ for ‘Timeline.’ An essential part of setting goals is to set out a reasonable timeline. In consultation with a physician and physical trainer, one can select a date upon which the goal ought to be met. Participating in a race, walk or biking event are helpful in setting forth solid and unchanging timeline. Registering for this event is even more incentive to reach these goals. Sometimes the investment of money or committing one’s name to the event is enough to motivate one to train properly and reach the necessary goals along the way.
Summit your own metaphorical Everest through your very own S.M.A.R.T. plan. Come on down to The Aspen Club & Spa and meet with the personal trainers on hand to discuss your fitness and weight-loss goals and to take the first step toward your best self today! This off season, ACRA members will receive 60% off initiation fees and dues as low as $125 per month. There’s never been a better time to join the Club!