The New Year provides a clean slate, and the opportunity to improve our lives in the year ahead. But for most of us, the New Years resolutions will be forgotten by March.
This year, we challenge you to ditch those New Years resolutions, and try something different instead: Focus on making SMART Goals.
SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. This method provides a roadmap with a clear sense of direction. It keeps you organized and focused on the small steps that lead to real success. SMART Goals are:
- Specific: Many goals fail because they are too broad. We say “I want to be healthier” or “I want to exercise more.” Instead, focus on very specific goals. Swap in sentences such as “I will eat 5 servings of vegetables every day” or “I will take a walk around my neighborhood at least 3 days per week.” Notice the use of the word “will” instead of “want” or “try.”
- Measureable: How are you going to measure your progress? This is an essential step that people often skip. Are you going to write it down? Are you going to use an app? Tracking your progress daily will give you the best results, and will keep you accountable.
- Actionable: What will your approach look like? It’s often easier to break your plan down into bite-sized goals. If your goal is to run a marathon, you’re not going to put the date on your calendar and say you’ll take practice runs whenever you feel like it. Instead, you’ll map out a training schedule, increase your mileage each week, and meal plan to optimize your training.
- Relevant or Realistic: Are you approaching too many goals at once? Maybe you’re pursuing the wrong goals? This one is so personal to you. It’s important to really reflect on whether your goal is realistic, or pie in the sky and doomed to fail. If you are trying to get back into exercising, you may vow to hit the gym 7 days a week. This many not be realistic in terms of your lifestyle, family obligations, time constraints etc. Instead, aim for 3 or 4 days per week, and maybe half of those workouts are done at home.
- Time-Based: When will you achieve your goal? Put that date on all your calendars. Get a countdown on your phone. Remind yourself weekly where you stand and how far you are from that goal.
Don’t forget to evaluate where you are along the journey. It’s ok to modify your goals as you make progress. And it’s also ok to tweak your goals if you find they aren’t realistic.
And don’t be afraid to push yourself further! Did you hit your goal of cooking dinner three nights a week rather than grabbing take out? See if you can go for night four! Or start doubling recipes and eating leftovers on the off nights.
Now the KEY to true success is to maintain your new and improved habits. Healthy habits last a lifetime. Make your goals SMART, and we know you can crush them in the new year.
Need added accountability? What about help with setting SMART goals? Call us today to set your appointment with a Registered Dietitian! Or, sign up for our 12 Fix Program designed to help you set a SMART goal in a specific area of nutrition and health each week!