As you think about your New Year’s Resolutions, you may lament those from prior years that remain unfulfilled. Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals this time around may increase the stickiness of those resolutions. If you’re like me, your goals often include a reference to healthier eating and exercise endeavors for the upcoming year. Vague goals, such as “eat healthier” are almost guaranteed to fail. How can you make smarter goals? Read on…
S: Specific. Saying you’ll eat healthier is not a very specific goal. It’s too general. Instead, try, “I’m going to eat 5 servings of fruits/vegetables at least 5 days per week.” You’re more likely to achieve a goal that is precise.
M: Measurable. Eating healthier is too broad, and eating more fruits and vegetables is more specific. So far, so good. By adding in a precise number of daily servings, you’ve made that goal measurable. Now you have to track it. Make a very simple tracking sheet that you can post on your refrigerator or use one of the many apps available for your phone. Tick off the servings of fruits & veggies as you eat them. Measuring your goal increases your engagement with the process each day.
A: Attainable. To me, the word attainable means there is an end point to the goal, a finish line. Eating more fruit is nebulous. What does that mean? What’s the goal or end point? By saying you’re going to eat at least 5 servings, you have a clear finish line for this resolution.
R: Realistic. While you might prefer to hit a home run with 9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily on all 7 days of the week, that may not be a realistic goal. By lowering the total number of servings to 5 and the number of days you’re shooting for to 5 per week, you are giving yourself a little wiggle room. If you don’t make your resolution realistic, you may become overwhelmed by your goals and will be more likely to give up. Keep it real.
T: Timely. What is the time frame for accomplishing your resolution? Get started immediately! But, what if your goal is not something you can accomplish immediately? Set a PROXIMAL time goal. That means something in the next few days or weeks. For example, “I’m going to read a book on nutrition before the end of January.” To make it more specific, name the book and the author and resolve to get your hands on the book before January 7th! You get the idea.
Make your New Year’s Resolutions stickier than ever before by setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals. You can do it!
If you live in the Chicago area (downtown or northern suburbs) and would like help with your New Year’s weight loss goals, you can make an appointment to see me by following the instructions on my website: http://www.DrLisaOldson.com. Click on “Make An Appointment” along the top of the page.
Thanks for listening and I wish you the best of health in 2015!
(Credit goes to Peter Drucker, the creative mind behind the concept of S.M.A.R.T. Goals. Realistic has replaced relevant, and timely has replaced time bound in this version. This approach to goal setting can certainly be applied to goals outside the field of weight management, and in fact were initially used in the field of business.)
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