Be SMART About Your Goals
With the New Year quickly approaching, you may already be thinking about your resolutions. Often times we set these goals with the best intentions for our personal development, but find it hard to start working on or meeting them. This year, set yourself up for success by setting SMART goals.
SMART goals are:
S- Specific. If your goal is to “eat healthier,” how will you know when you have achieved this goal? And what does “healthier” eating look like? Ambiguous goals are less motivating and more difficult to start, as the endpoint is unclear. By creating well-defined goals, you significantly increase your chances of achievement. For this goal, “increasing my intake of vegetables” is a better place to start.
M- Measurable. Remember that your goal should always include “how much” and “by when.” This provides criteria for achievement, which will help you monitor your progress. “I will increase my vegetable intake by two servings per day.” This creates a clear goal that is also…
A- Achievable! This is important for you overachievers: remember to start small. Many of us put off working on our goals because they may be too grand or could take years to achieve. When goal setting, think: “What can I accomplish in a week?” If an extra two servings of vegetables sounds a little too easy, that’s perfect! You will be able to achieve this goal and then be motivated to increase the amount or add another goal for the next week. It’s also important to focus on behaviors, not outcomes. For instance, instead of “Lose four pounds this week,” try “Walk for 30 minutes three days next week.” Behaviors are within your control but outcomes, like weight loss, unfortunately are not.
R- Relevant. Make sure your goals are always in line with your values and hold meaning. What is important to you? Why do you want to eat more vegetables? Additionally, you are more likely to reach a goal that you want to achieve instead of a goal that someone else wants you to achieve.
T- Time-bound. When do you want to achieve this goal? Without an endpoint in mind it is easy to put off making changes. Setting a timeline that is realistic and not too far off into the future makes the goal more achievable and easier to start working on now.
Bottom line: Many people have a hard time setting goals that are SMART. Follow the guidelines here and engage a strong support system to help you along the way. Learn more about goal setting and other wellness programs offered by Wellness Workdays.
Written by: Michelle Abbey, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern.