S.M.A.R.T. goals focus our direction and help us break down what tasks are necessary to complete said goals. Setting specific, see measurable, attainable goals provide smaller opportunities for success along the way and hold us accountable.
Many of us as adults consider fitness goals around this time each year.
What about fitness goals for our kids or our family as a whole?
Appropriate Family Goals
Adults may set a fitness goal of: “Increase upper body strength by incorporating one new upper body weightlifting exercise per week for 8 weeks, adding one set of 10-12 repetitions per exercise.”
A great goal, but this goal might not be as appropriate for a seven-year-old.
What do specific family-friendly fitness goals look like?
You want your family to be more active. But how much activity is “more” for you? What fitness levels would you consider healthy for your family? What extra needs do you need to consider for your family (special needs, dietary restrictions, physical limitations or even physical specialties)?
A good goal for a family with multi-age children might be: “Participate in activity 3 days a week.” This goal is measurable and probably attainable, but if you transform this goal into a S.M.A.R.T. goal, you can set your family up for success with some planning and thought.
A new S.M.A.R.T. goal: “Each week, each person in our family will do one physical activity separately (a team sport, fitness class, etc.), one with at least one family member, and one with the family as a whole (taking a walk, playing basketball, etc.) for at least 20 minutes each time. We will plan our activity schedule while we meal plan each Saturday for the next week.”
This goal is specific (activity types plus time per activity), measurable, attainable (especially because it incorporates accountability by exercising with other people), realistic, and time-bound (activity time and scheduling deadline). (Note: This example may not be exactly what your family needs, but it can spur ideas.)
If you’re working on goal setting with your children, help your children plan for success. For older children, allow them to set their own goals first, then you and your child can discuss how to refine those goals, if necessary. For younger children, consider these questions:
- What physical activities does your child love? Include those at least twice a week, if possible.
- What areas of health and fitness does your child want to improve? If your child desires a stronger throwing arm, help him or her pinpoint exercises to help.
- What areas of health and fitness do you want your child to improve (like cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, incorporating more variety, or increasing balance)? Help him or her set a goal or two addressing those areas.
- What additions (or shuffling) to your schedule are realistic for your child?
- What goals would challenge and motivate your child without frustrating them?
After you discuss these goals, set two or three, then try them out for a month. If progress isn’t occurring (unrelated to motivation or effort), modify them!
A Free Goal-Setting Resource
Want a goal-setting aid? Download this free planning sheet to guide your family’s fitness preparation. To download this printable, click on this link: Setting Specific Family Fitness Goals planning printable PDF, then right click and “Save As…”, then right-click on the image and choose “Save as…” to save it to your computer. (You can also find a kids’ version on my Teachers-Pay-Teachers store for free!)
What fitness goals has your family set this year or month? If you’re interested, tell us one general fitness goal you have, then rework it in the comments to be a more specific goal.