Spring Forward with SMART Lifestyle Goals
By: Matt Miller, Lead Clinical Dietitian
Each year many of us make resolutions to change our lifestyle, including; eating healthier, exercising more and achieving a healthier body weight. However, many resolutions fall short as we lose steam along the way.
Now is the perfect time to Spring into action by developing a well-defined plan and setting achievable goals by using SMART objectives. SMART stands for:
• Specific. The more detailed and targeted your description, the better your chance to achieve your goal.
• Measurable. Break your goal down into measurable elements for concrete evidence that you’ve met your objective.
• Attainable. Is it possible to meet this goal? Think about the steps you’ll need to take to make it happen. Make sure you have the tools, information and resources you need to reach your goal.
• Relevant. Appreciate the importance of what you’re doing. Make sure your goal supports your larger vision and overall goals in your life.
• Timely. Set a deadline. Specify when your results will be achieved. It will give you the focus and sense of urgency to make your goal a reality.
Start by taking to time to think about your WHY? ‘Why’ do you want to make change, ‘why’ is it important to you. Your goals should align with your ‘why’ and the things that are important to you. For example, “I want to be able to play with my grandchildren as they grow up.” “I want to be a role model for my children.” “I want to be healthy and active so I can enjoy retirement.” “I want to reduce my risk of chronic disease.” Remember, it must have meaning to YOU!
Once you know your WHY, you can start to think about the HOW and the WHAT. How and what can I do to achieve my goal. Start with 1-3 small goals that are in line with your overall bigger goal and in-line with your WHY.
SMART goal example: “I will walk/jog/bike for 30 minutes/day 3 times per week for the next 4 weeks.” Or “I will lose 2” from my waist over the next 8 weeks.”
Write down your goals, keep them visible and review them daily. Make a plan, a little preparation can go a long way. Get your exercise clothes ready the night before, exercise before work to get your day off to a great start, clear your calendar, work out with a friend. Having a workout partner often helps with motivation.
Remember, setting and achieving small goals that create good habits are key to achieving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.