by Carly Headd, Director of Wellness Programs, Lifestyle Medicine Clinic
It’s that time of year again. We start thinking about where we want to be 12 months from now, envision what we want our health to look like, a vacation we want to take, or how we want to make changes to our lifestyle. These tasks can feel daunting, but goal setting can help turn our visions into reality.
Many of us have set health goals at some point in our lives. Whether it’s a smaller weekly goal like walking more, or a more long-term goal like losing 30 pounds or training for your first marathon, did you know that there are a few essential steps that can increase our likelihood of success?
When we have a goal in mind, it’s important to consider where we currently are in relation to that goal, then create small, short-term goals to start propelling us to that long-term vision. To make our short-term goals more achievable, we want them to be specific, measurable, action-based, realistic, and time bound – also known as SMART. Once you have your SMART goal(s) established, consider your accountability system. How will you hold yourself accountable and remember to do this? Some people lean on a friend or family member to check in with and some set reminders on their calendar at regular intervals to check your progress; find what works for you.
With goal setting, it’s crucial we keep an open mind and treat goals as experiments; there will be times when the goal is not achieved. Rather than being hard on yourself, treat this as a learning opportunity. Maybe the goal wasn’t realistic, or perhaps your priorities changed. Either way, it’s okay when goals aren’t met; we simply continue to reevaluate and set new goals to continue working toward success.
Is one of your SMART goals for 2024 to get more movement in to your day? Learn how the exercise specialists at our Lifestyle Medicine clinics can help you create a personalized, science-based exercise program.
Want to learn more about SMART goals? Check out New Year, New You? How to Set Realistic Goals That You’ll Actually Stick With.