SMART Goals for 2015

 

It’s January, the time of year when many renew their commitment to better health. Many of us set well intentioned goals, only to find ourselves frustrated and unmotivated shortly after the New Year commences. How can we make changes that will last this year? 

Consider charting a path for your personal success with SMART goal setting. SMART stands for: 

  • Specific: Identify what you are trying to achieve and when, where and how you will get there.

  • Measurable: The goal and its benefits should be quantifiable (i.e. how many days you will exercise).

  • Action-oriented: What steps are necessary to achieve your goal?

  • Realistic and Relevant: The goal must be practical, given available resources and time. The goal should challenge you but allow the likelihood of success. The goal must be important to you and relevant to your particular interests, needs and abilities. 

  • Time-bound: Steve Smith said, “The difference between a goal and a dream is a deadline.” Set a specific time frame to achieve your goal.  

Setting goals in this way brings greater clarity to what we want and how we will get there. SMART goals prevent us from placing unrealistic expectations on ourselves or taking on more than we are prepared to handle. They gives us a system of accountability to make sure we are moving in the right direction. Most importantly, SMART goals help us pursue something that has personal value and significance - something worth fighting for. 

To remain motivated throughout your health journey, focus on how the lifestyle changes you make will personally benefit you. While lifestyle changes of any kind require hard work, dedication and consistent efforts, focusing on the cost of change is hardly inspiring. Create a list of benefits, and read it regularly to renew your motivation throughout the year.

Consider health coaching for additional support, accountability and guidance with your personal health goals. Our health coaches will help you transform your personal health goals into action in a supportive environment. To learn more about our programs, contact us

 

Starting a New Path

The New Year brings hope for change and new beginnings; it’s a time to reflect on what we want to change in our lives and a place to start over.  Millions of people make resolutions, only to never experience their full potential in achieving them.  I believe it’s time to redefine resolutions, and to take a different approach toward achieving them. 

A resolution is simply a resolve or firm determination to do something.  We see something in our lives we want to change, and we resolve to do something about it.  However, the resolution is the vision and not the goal.  Goals bring legs to our vision.  They define how we are going to move closer to our desired outcome and chart the path for our arrival.  But perhaps the biggest problem many face with setting goals is that we fail to recognize that we bite off more than we can chew.  Smaller achievable goals partnered with realistic expectations will yield success.  

Zig Ziglar, a phenomenal motivational speaker said it best when he introduced the concept "You can make radical changes in minute steps.”   A dear friend of mine experienced this truth in his quest to lose weight.  We discussed various lifestyle changes that would be important for achieving his goal, and he chose 2 minute steps that brought about radical change in just 1 month.  He reduced his portion sizes at meals, and ate apples for his midmorning and midafternoon snacks in place of nonnutritive, empty calorie choices.  These minute steps yielded a ten pound weight loss.

The idea of what it will take to change a habit is intimidating and cumbersome, especially if you're a big picture person who wants to charge straight to the finish line.  When it comes to changing habits that hold us back from reaching our goals, our human nature wants to reach the summit without first climbing the mountain. But more often we make goals bigger than we are ready to handle; we try to tackle the whole mountain at once and get to the top as quickly as possible.  The best way to arrive there is to focus on to focus on very small steps, or one segment of the mountain at a time. If any change is overwhelming to you, perhaps the chosen strategy is not one that will work for you at this time.  Make sure the changes you are making are ones that you can live with, and take one non-threatening step after another.  Partner consistent minute steps with some tenacity and you will reach your destination.  I'm up for the challenge, and I hope you are too.