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Fitness & Wellness, Group Fitness, Personal Training, Small Group Training
S.M.A.R.T. and S.M.A.R.T.E.R. ways to set goals
January 3, 2017 | by Jermaine John-Archer

“Work smarter not harder.”

We’ve all heard this quote before, but what does it actually mean? How can we prioritize our efforts to truly maximize our potential and see the results we want?  It might sound crazy, but with the right structure, we can plan S.M.A.R.T…in fact, some people have been planning S.M.A.R.T. since 1981.


Over 35 years ago, George T. Doran published an article called “There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives”, which discussed the importance and difficulties of setting goals and objectives.  Sounds a lot like training, doesn’t it?  Here’s what he outlined as the ideal corporate, department and section objectives:

  • Specific – target a specific area for improvement.
  • Measurable– quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress.
  • Assignable– specify who will do it.
  • Realistic– state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.
  • Time-related– specify when the result(s) can be achieved.

In his essay, Doran suggested that success isn’t the quantification of ALL objectives, but is rather the combination of the objective and its action plan.


As it relates to training, building a purposeful STRATEGY around your objective will truly help you live a lifestyle that surrounds the needs of your dreams and goals. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, your plan will include S.M.A.R.T objectives like maintaining a healthy diet and getting to Fortius a few days a week to train with your coach. But life is such that it gets in the way, so we must be prepared for its interference. If we need to cancel a session, the objective is not completely lost, but rather we should look at shifting the balance for that day by changing our diet to accommodate for the break in exercise routine. Or perhaps, find a different way to train for that day, or reschedule for another time that week and plan your diet accordingly with that change. State the objective, and build your action plan for successful days AND for days when life interferes.

Here’s another way to think about ways to work “S.M.A.R.T.E.R. not harder” as we apply it to training at Fortius:

  • Strategic – target a specific area for improvement and build a STRATEGY to plan for days of success and for days of failure. Your strategy should be well thought out and strongly influenced by positive factors and potentially negative interruptions.
  • Meaningful – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress; your objective should mean something to you and your method of measurement should motivate you to stick to the action plan.
  • Accountable – Ask for help if you can’t do it alone. Be accountable for your actions, and adjust your strategy to meet the growing needs of your goals.
  • Results-based – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources. Your action plan should be results-based and measured objectively (and subjectively) backed by evidence-based feedback.
  • Trackable – specify when the result(s) can be achieved and track your progress objectively. Keep an active journal and write them down with your next plan of attack.
  • Evaluate – Assess your objective(s) and action plan(s) methodically and consistently throughout the process. Make changes when necessary.
  • Review – Take a step back, and look at the big picture. Recognize mastery and autonomy and challenge yourself with new approaches to tackling your goals

Let’s work together to train smarter so that we can train harder and perform at our best in 2017.

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Our 15,000 sq. ft, Fitness & Performance Centre features state-of-the-art equipment and an educated and experienced strength and conditioning team. We offer no-contract memberships and a variety of programs and services for athletes and active individuals of all ages and abilities. Visit our website to learn more!