Setting goals is a crucial part of getting (and staying) fit. Whether your goal is to walk to the mailbox or run a marathon, the importance of good goal-setting should not be overlooked. Here are some simple tips to help you set and achieve your fitness goals:

#1 Set a SMART Goal – This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to identify a specific, tangible goal. Behavior change experts recommend setting SMART goals – goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused, and Time-Bound.1 For example, “I will exercise three times per week for six weeks” is better than “I’m going to exercise regularly this month”.

SMART goals break large goals into smaller, more manageable ones. For example, if your ultimate goal is to run a 5K within three months, you may begin by running one mile per day, three times per week for four weeks.

#2 Write it Down – Research shows that writing your goals increases your chances of achieving them.2 Try writing your goal and signing it like a contract. Then display it in a visible place, like your refrigerator or bathroom mirror. You’ll be surprised how this simple act will help you avoid procrastination and stay on track!

#3 Stay Accountable – Research also shows that staying accountable is crucial to fitness success.2 Regularly reporting your progress to a friend, co-worker, or health professional can help you stay moving.

#4 Seek Help – Health and wellness professionals, such as personal trainers, health coaches, and nutrition specialists, can help you formulate good goals and tackle any challenges that may arise. They can also help you stay motivated by tracking your progress and giving encouragement and helpful tips.

Using these four steps, you’re sure to become a goal-setting pro!