January is often used as a time to pause and evaluate the success and pitfalls of the previous year. It is also a good time to evaluate your overall physical and mental health and reflect on the changes you want to make in the coming year.
Many will write down goals or tell them to loved ones, however, over half who do, will fall short of achieving their goal. Returning to our old habits is quite easy because they provide a sense of comfort and we know what to expect.
It takes both courage and determination to make a long-term change, but it also takes some planning. This is where a SMART Goal becomes your new best friend.
SMART goals are:
If for example, your goal is to eat healthier this year, ask yourself what that truly means. Do you want to eat out less often? Do you want to reduce your caffeine intake? Or perhaps you would like to start eating breakfast? Aim for specific goals instead, such as eliminating soda, eating five servings of vegetables a day or limiting your daily sugar intake to 30 grams of added sugar.
Make your goal one you can measure. A goal of walking more during the week is not easily measured, however, if the goal is changed to walking three days a week, you can track it using a calendar or journal.
Avoid aiming too high or too low. Think like Goldilocks and find a goal that feels just right.
Losing 15 pounds a week sounds amazing! However, it’s an impossible goal that will make you feel defeated and more likely to give up on your efforts. Creating goals that you can feasibly meet will reinforce your efforts and keep you encouraged.
- Time-Sensitive Instead of letting a goal run on infinitely, give it a timeframe to determine whether or not it’s working. This could be as short as two weeks or as long as a year. Whatever timeframe is chosen, at the end of the period, evaluate where you are with that goal and re-adjust if needed.
The most important thing to remember is to be patient with yourself and to not feel defeated or discouraged when you don’t meet your goal. It simply means that you should go back to your goal and make adjustments that are SMART.