Be SMART about Goal-Setting

Setting SMART kettlebell training goals

Steve Cotter/IKFF

Goal-setting is crucial to success with your kettlebell training, as with anything worth doing. 

“I want to lose weight” and “I want to look good naked” are thoughts and ideas, not goals. There is no commitment or plan, just thoughts about what is appealing to you. A goal goes through the steps to bring something from the idea world into the world of results.

S.M.A.R.T. stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely, and is a helpful guide for creating and achieving your kettlebell training goals.


When your goal is clear and specific, with a definite time set for accomplishing it, you will know what is expected, and you can use the specific result as motivation. When a goal is vague – expressed as a general statement, like “I want to lose weight” – it has little motivational value. “I will lift kettlebells 3 days per week for 30 minutes per session and lose 20 lb by the 1st of September” is an example of a clear, specific goal. Specific goals answer the W questions:

Who is involved?

What do I want to attain?

Where is the location the goal is going to be realized?

When will I accomplish my goal?

Which are the requirements and limitations? 

Why am I doing this? The reasons, purposes or benefits of reaching my goal?


A measurable goal answers “How much?,” “How many?,”  and “How will I know when it is accomplished”? The goal statement “I will train 3 days per week for 30 minutes per session and lose 20 pounds by September 1st”, answers how much (3 days per week), how many (20 pounds) and how to know when it is accomplished (by September 1st).

You can weigh yourself once per week and lose an average of 1 lb per week over a 5-month period. The steps are all measurable.


A goal that’s too difficult makes it unlikely to achieve. A goal that’s too easy offers no motivation. Difficult goals are more motivating than easy goals, since there’s a greater sense of accomplishment to achieving something you had to work hard for.

An attainable goals  answers “How can the goal be accomplished?”


A relevant goal must also be realistic. If you believe the goal is realistic then it is relevant for you. For example, if you run a 12-minute mile, it is not realistic to set running a 6-minute mile as a goal. But a goal of running a mile in 10-minutes is within your reach if you put in the work over the next several months. Then, you may set a new realistic goal of running an 8-minute mile and from there 7 minutes. If you can run a 7-minute mile, then setting a goal of a 6-minute mile may be a realistic goal. Keep your goals in context of where you are now. A relevant goal answers: “Does this seem worthwhile?”


Setting a deadline helps you focus on reaching the goal by completion date. A timely goal imposes a sense of priority and urgency. If you want to lose 20 lbs, when do you want to lose it by? “Someday” is not specific enough to get you to the finish line. Once you commit to accomplishing it within a given timeframe, (by September 1st), you’ve programmed your unconscious mind to begin working on the goal.

Timely goals answer: “When?,” “What can I do today?,” and “What can I do 6 weeks, 6 months, or 1 year from now?”.

Setting SMART goals is an important step on your path to a fitter body and will guide the progress of your kettlebell training.

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