Goal setting can sometimes be easier said than done. There are a lot of ambiguous health goals out there like, “I want to lose weight,” “I want to eat more greens,” or “I want to sleep better.” Honestly, those ambiguous health goals are a good place to start! Breaking these goals down to determine your “why” will help get you started. Utilizing the SMART goal technique will allow you to determine what you specifically want to work on and how you can successfully achieve it.
Let’s start with the “I want to lose weight” goal example. Asking the question, “why do I want to lose weight?” is a good starting point. Do you want to lose weight to improve your cholesterol numbers? Will improved cholesterol numbers result in not taking your medication anymore? Will it help improve your self-esteem? Do you want to lose weight to keep up with your kids? There are so many options, so determining your reasoning is key and remember, you can have more than one reason.
Once you determine your “why” you want to use that to help set your SMART goal and create your plan. The SMART goal technique can be used in many aspects of life, from fitness goals to work goals to even relationship goals. It helps to determine your long-term goal along with smaller short-term goals to achieve along the way. Think of these goals as stepping stones towards the success of your long-term goal. They should be built into your plan and will help keep you accountable along the way.
What is a SMART goal?
S- Specific; you want your goal to be as specific as possible.
M-Measurable; your goal should have a way to measure your success.
A- Achievable; your goal should provide a challenge, but well defined enough to be achieved.
R- Realistic; given the time and resources, your goal can be accomplished.
T- Timely; your goal should have a start and finish date.
Continuing with the “I want to lose weight” goal example, let’s break it down to determine our “why” and create our SMART goals.
Fitness Goal Example:
Long-term goal: I am hopeful that by January 2023, my cholesterol will be in the normal range, and I will be off my cholesterol medication.
Short-term goal: Improve my cholesterol numbers by my next doctor appointment on August 5. I will re-evaluate my goals after this doctor appointment.
Short-term goal: Starting next week, April 4, I will complete a 30-minute cardio group fitness class on Monday and Wednesday from 4-4:30 PM. On Fridays, I will join the 30-minute strength training class from 11:30-12 PM. I will block these times on my Outlook calendar and will add 10 minutes so I have time to change and make it over to the gym.
Short-term goal: Starting next week, April 4, I will improve my step count from 5,000 steps per day to 8,000 steps per day. I will accomplish this by taking 15-minute walking breaks every 2 hours while I am at work. I will do a lap on my floor and walk up/down 2 flights of stairs.
Short-term goal: By next Friday, I will set up a consult with our dietician to review my eating habits and how to make changes to see success.