Special to the News-Journal
A new year means new beginnings, and proper planning can make the difference between finding yourself eating quinoa or cookies come day 30 for even the most well-intentioned New Year’s resolutions. When considering ways to make 2019 your healthiest year yet, remember to set S.M.A.R.T. goals: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.
“Every January we see a flood of people determined to kick off their year on the right foot and prioritize health. Those who turn the January excitement into a sustained lifestyle of wellness almost always set S.M.A.R.T. goals for themselves,” said Jared Graham, fitness manager at CHRISTUS Good Shepherd Institute for Healthy Living.
A common New Year’s resolution of “I want to lose weight,” is a commendable goal, but making it S.M.A.R.T. will help it stick throughout the year. Such a goal could be, “I want to lose 20 pounds within the next four months by exercising at least three days each week, eating vegetables instead of sugary foods, and being more active with my children.”
Anyone can refine their goals for 2019 by making sure each goal meets five simple S.M.A.R.T. criteria:
When deciding goals, you should be straightforward and emphasize what you want to happen.
This will help you to focus efforts and clearly define what you want to achieve. Answer the questions what, why and how in order to ensure the goals selected are specific, clear and easy.
Example: 20 pounds; More energy; Better fitting clothes
If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Choose a goal with measurable progress so you can see the change occur. Show a specific target to be measured. When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach target dates and enjoy the experience of achieving set goals.
Example: Weekly weigh-in; Fit of clothes
Know your attitude, abilities, skills and financial capacity in order to set goals that are in personal reach; otherwise you may not commit to doing them. Instead of saying, “I’ll lose 20 pounds in one week,” aim for losing one pound in a week and when you achieve that, aim for losing one more the next week.
Example: Four months to lose 20 pounds means losing just 1.25 pounds each week.
“Realistic” goals mean “doable” goals. “Doable” goals mean the learning curve is not a vertical slope and the skills needed to do the work are available and the project fits with the overall strategy and goals.
A realistic project may push the skills and knowledge of the goal better, but it shouldn’t break them. Devise a plan that makes meeting the goal realistic. But always be sure to set the bar high enough for a satisfying achievement.
Example: Increasing fruit and vegetable and decreasing sugars in diet and three days of exercise
Set a timeframe for your goal. Putting an end point on your goals gives you a clear target to work toward. Without a time limit, there’s no urgency to start taking action now.
Time must be measurable, attainable and realistic.
Example: Four months