Healthy Abbotsford Blog

Turn New Years Resolutions into S.M.A.R.T Goals

We all have such great intentions in January.   Even after a busy holiday session we somehow feel recharged with a new found energy to make this year the best year ever!   We make our goals, we tell our friends and we go for it!  Unfortunately many New Years Resolutions seem to be flashbacks from the previous year as many goals go unreached.   Why is this?  Why is it so hard to achieve our goals?  Let’s look at least years goals to discover where we went wrong.

In order to increase your chances of achieving a goal you need to make it SMART!  SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.   Keeping your goal in mind lets see how SMART it really is and what you need to do to make it SMARTer for 2011.

Specific:  Many goals are just too general.   It’s one thing to want to lose weight, but weight loss involves a number of different lifestyle changes to be successful.  Tackling all of these at once can be overwhelming and lead to frustration and abandoning your goal all together.   The trick is to make your goal more specific.  For instance if you want to lose weight instead set you goal based on a behaviour you want to change.    What has caused you to gain weight in the first place?  Let’s say you spend too much time watching TV instead of preparing a healthy dinner.   So instead of focusing your goal on weight loss, focus on watching less TV. 

Measurable:  Measuring your goal let’s you know how you are doing and when you have reached your goal.   If we carry on the previous example your measurable goal could be:  Watch no more than 2 hours of TV per day.  You can use a calendar to track the days you watched less than 2 hours of TV.   While you have a daily goal you can also set weekly and monthly goals.  

Attainable:  Is your goal attainable?  Once you have created your goal ask yourself on a scale of 1-10 (10 being extremely confident) “how confident am I that I can achieve this goal”?  If you answer less than 7 revise your goal to make it more attainable.   For example, if you don’t feel you can watch less then 2 hours of TV a day change it to less than 3 hours a day.   Remember achieving a goal is exciting and can give you more motivation.   Revise your goal again once you have achieved it.   

Realistic:  Goals need to be realistic.  Remember that nobody is super human!   When it comes to exercise and healthy eating too much too soon can lead to illness and injury.   If you are trying to lose weight, healthy weight loss should be no more than 1.5 – 2 lbs per week.  Slow weight loss is healthier and stays off longer.   If you need help determining if your goal is realistic talk to an expert.  

Timely:   All goals should have a timeline.  Keeping a timeline helps to keep you focused.   Let’s say you set a goal to jog 5 km.  Without a timeline there is no sense of urgency or commitment.   Based on your currently level of fitness, let’s say you determine that a realistic time frame is 10 weeks.  Better yet you register for a local 5 K running event 10 weeks down the road.  Now you are committed!    

Have fun making your goals SMARTer and remember to reward yourself for a job well done!


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