No matter how big or small your health/fitness goal (exercise more, completing a 5K, losing 5 or 50 pounds, or eating no red meat), making the required lifestyle changes to reach your goal requires planning and setting “SMART” goals. “SMART” goals are:
Attainable, Achievable or Action-oriented
Relevant or Realistic
Every year at this time, I hear people say their goal for the New Year is to “get healthy.” There are many ways to get healthy. Is your goal to to exercise, stop smoking, establish new eating habits, or lose weight? If it is losing weight, what does that look like to you? – 5lbs, 25 or maybe even 100? The likelihood of success will be higher if you break down your goal and follow the SMART guidelines.
Below is a SMART goal example.
• Specific. We want a goal that is clear and easy to understand. Our goal is “lose weight.”
• Measureable. The “lose weight” goal is not enough. How will we track our progress and how will we know our goal has been reached? We will need to add numbers (pounds or % body weight). For our example, let’s say we want to lose 25 lbs.
• Attainable, Achievable or Action-oriented. Confirm your goal is actually attainable. If you have a huge, long-term goal, it may be better to break it down. For example, if you want to lose 100lbs, let’s do 10lbs or 25lbs at a time. It is easier to see the end and therefore more attainable. Then you can set a second and third goal. In our example, we have decided the 25lb goal is achievable.
Let’s consider some actions that we will help us attain our goal. Without an action plan, a goal more than likely will not be successful. Below are some suggested actions:
o Maintain a food diary every day until the goal is reached or you have changed your eating habits.
o Participate in a weight management class or maybe visit with a Registered Dietitian.
o Walk 30 minutes every day or attend a fitness class.
o Stop drinking sodas and drink more water.
• Realistic or Relevant. Consider your goal. Is it realistic and relevant? Is this something you are willing to work for and even make sacrifices for? If you don’t want to make changes in your lifestyle at this time, this is probably not a relevant goal.
• Time-oriented. You must have an endpoint to your goal. A deadline will keep you motivated. Since healthy weight loss is about 1-2 pounds per week, let’s set our deadline for 6 months with a deadline of July 1, 2015, and regular weigh-ins every week.
Now you have a SMART way to tackle your New Year’s Resolution.
For more information about local fitness classes, contact Janet Hunt at 256-614-3530 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Janet’s Facebook page (Janet’s Fitness).
By: Janet Hunt