A S.M.A.R.T. Guide to Setting Healthy Goals
We are nearing the end of January, how are you doing on your commitment to getting healthy in 2017? About half of all Americans make New Year’s resolutions with “losing weight” at the top of the list. So, we wanted to remind you to get back to basics and make sure you are setting S.M.A.R.T. goals regarding your health.
Be Specific When Setting Goals
Deciding to lose weight, exercise more and eat healthily are excellent ideas but they are not goals. You need to spend time thinking about details of what you want to accomplish and write out your goals.
- Your goals should be as specific as possible.
- Think of them like an instruction telling you what to do.
- Instead of saying, “I will lose weight” add details. For example, “I will lose 20 pounds over the next six months by increasing my exercise to five times a week, eating smaller portions, and decreasing the amount of sugar I eat.”
- Our trainers are available to analyze your overall fitness level and personal goals, and then develop customized fitness training plans that are specific.
Make Your Goals Measurable
If you don’t make your goals measurable, how do you know when you reach them?
- Making goals concrete will help you stay on track
- Having something to measure will give you motivation along the way as you reach mini milestones.
- A measurable goal will produce evidence for your progress, which feels good.
- Here are some examples
- If you want to improve your athletic performance, your goal might be, “To train for and complete my first 10K race in the 90 days.”
- If you want to decrease your chance of heart disease, your goal might be, “Reduce my LDL cholesterol by 18 points within the next year.”
Be Accountable to Someone
We all need accountability for any goals we want to achieve. It helps with consistency and with motivation when things get tough, and our feelings don’t align with our goals.
- Meeting with one of our trainers for regular workouts is an excellent way to stay on track.
- Exercising with a friend can hold you accountable to your workouts.
- If you’re competitive, sign up for a competition, it’s great for accountability.
- Sharing healthy menus with a friend can help you be accountable to eating well.
- Put your goals on social media – nothing like a little positive peer pressure to keep you on track.
- Using an app on your smartphone to track your food and exercise can keep you accountable. Check out JZ Fitness app profiled below. It’s one of our favorites.
Make your goals challenging, but attainable. If you have never run a marathon, it’s not realistic to say you are going to run a marathon in the next 90 days. Likewise, a goal that is too easy is not very motivating.
- Your goals should be important to you. If they aren’t you’ll have a hard time sticking to them
- Create intermediate goals and celebrate small victories along the way.
- You can attain most goals when you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out each action.
If your goal doesn’t have a time limit, you can run into trouble starting and staying motivated until the end.
- Knowing that you have a deadline motivates you to begin so be sure to include an end-point.
- With no time frame tied to it, there’s no sense of urgency.
- Here’s an example if you want to improve your body composition, your goal can be “to reduce my body fat by 20 percent within the next six months.”
Setting SMART goals doesn’t mean you’ll never experience setbacks. But it does give you something concrete to work toward. At Optimal Medical Group, we teach our patients a proven weight loss and management program, targeting FAT loss, incorporating sound nutrition practices, behavioral changes, and physical activity necessary to making a lifelong commitment to adopting a healthy lifestyle.