Ready to kick off the New Year on a healthy note? Do you ever set New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier and exercise, only to find that you never end up starting them? Or maybe you start them, but find it difficult to maintain new habits.
One technique that we use with our clients in our counseling sessions is setting SMART goals. Here’s what SMART goals are all about:
S = SPECIFIC. A specific goal has a greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. For instance, instead of resolving to get in shape think about how you plan to get in shape. Do you plan to join a health club and exercise 30 mins/day, 5 days/week? Or maybe you plan to walk during your lunch and coffee breaks at work. It’s about going from fuzzy to focused when setting your goals.
M = MEASURABLE. Set specific targets to measure your progress with attaining your goals. If you don’t set targets, how will you know when you get there? We all know that eating more fruits and veggies is important, but instead of resolving to just eat more produce, set a concrete goal such as “I will eat one more fruit and vegetable serving each day this week.”
A = ATTAINABLE. This is probably the most important step to consider when setting SMART goals. Often times we see our clients setting lofty goals that are achievable. And what happens when we set huge goals that we can’t achieve?? We get discouraged! It’s great to have long-term goals, but break them up into smaller, more realistic steps. If you haven’t engaged in a regular physical activity in years, it’s probably unrealistic to set a starting goal of walking 5 miles a day. Start smaller by parking the car further away, taking the stairs at work, or walking 10 mins during a coffee break 3 days per week.
R = RELEVANT. A relevant goal is one that has meaning for you. A great way to come up with relevant goals is food journaling. Write everything you eat and drink for 3 days and ask yourself, “what is one small change I can make to improve my eating habits that is relevant to me?” Maybe it’s switching from regular soda to diet.
T = TIMELY. A goal should be bound with a time frame. Example, “within 7 days I will find out more information on walking trails in my area.”
Share your goals and resolutions with us! Happy New Year!
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