How to Set "SMART" Health and Wellness Goals for the New Year
December 28, 2021
With a new year right around the corner, many people are thinking about New Year’s resolutions. While setting goals is a great idea, how you go about creating them is crucial. One way to set yourself up for success is by using the “SMART” goal method. Developed in 1981, the “SMART” criteria can be used to manage goals and objectives.
Learn more about this proven method and how it can help you achieve your health and wellness goals for the New Year:
S is for Specific – target a specific area for improvement. The first step is to figure out an area you want to improve. It can be anything from stepping up your conditioning and cardio endurance, losing weight or body fat, increasing your flexibility or even cutting out junk food. Be intentional to identify an area in your life you would like to focus on – it’s doesn’t matter how big or small it may seem.
M is for Measurable – define what success looks like or at least determine an indicator of progress. Once you have a goal, you need to figure out how to measure it. If you are trying to lose body fat or weight, pick a specific and realistic number you would like to achieve, with milestone figures targeted along the way. If you want to be more active, add in a specific number of hours you want to work out each week. Being specific about what success looks like will help you achieve your goal.
A is for Achievable – specify how you will do it. When choosing your goal and how you will measure it, make sure it is achievable. For example, if you are setting a weight loss goal, remember that normally the human body can typically only safely lose 1-3 pounds a week. If you have not run in many years, start with a goal to finish a 5K, not a marathon. While your goal should not be easy, it should be something you can achieve if you work hard and stick to a specific plan.
R is for Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given your available resources. Results do not happen overnight, and it can be a long journey to achieve your goal. Make sure to select goals that are attainable in timeframes that make sense with the resources you have in your life. This will help avoid discouragement and keep you motivated to succeed during setbacks, which often happen in our lives and are a part of the process.
T is for Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved. Setting an end date for a goal gives you something to work towards and can help keep you motivated. If you’re setting a goal for the full year, try to also ‘break it up’ into monthly segments to track your progress. Your timeframe should be achievable, realistic and a healthy challenge.
How We Can Help
If you are looking for a fresh start this new year, our care teams can work with you to help you define and stay on track with your health and wellness goals. Visit our website to find your local ACCESS health center and schedule an appointment today.