Will you make a New Year’s resolution next week? January is a great time to evaluate your health and set goals for the future. But if you want your resolution to last, you should follow a few simple guidelines. Goals that are S.M.A.R.T. are goals that are more likely to last.
S.M.A.R.T. Goal Guidelines
The S.M.A.R.T. system for setting goals is widely accepted by coaches, trainers and lifestyle experts as an effective way to develop successful resolutions. Start with a general idea of the target you’d like to reach in 2014 and then refine your goal according to these five criteria:
Specific. If weight loss is your aim in 2014, define a specific amount of weight that you’d like to lose. Your doctor may be able to help you come up with a number. If your weight affects your health, your health care team may be able to give you an idea of the amount of weight you should lose to make a real difference to your health.
Measurable. You should track your progress on the journey to reaching your goal. To do this, your goal needs to be measurable. For dieters, a weight loss goal of 1-2 pounds per week is both reasonable and measurable.
Achievable. Try not to set goals that you are not likely to reach. For example, if you’ve never been able to lose more than 10 pounds, a weight loss goal of 50 pounds is probably not achievable. Evaluate your previous weight loss history to come up with a reasonable, attainable goal. Once you reach that goal, you can set a new goal to lose more.
Results-focused. How will you know if you have reached your goal? Define a specific result that you’d like to see. For example, a new exerciser might set a goal to walk on a treadmill every day until she can walk continuously for 30 minutes. A dieter might try to reach a specific body mass index (BMI) or weight goal.
Time Bound. Set a schedule for your goal. For example, instead of setting a goal to “lose weight in 2014,” set a time-bound goal to lose 1-2 pounds per week to reach a weight loss goal of 20 pounds in 3 months.
Remember that there are plenty of weight loss resources at North Memorial Medical Center to help you reach your health goals in 2014. Connect with us to find out more about how your weight affects your health, to get a referral to see a registered dietitian or to find out more about the activity programs available through the Institute for Athletic Medicine.