Start the Year off SMART with Healthy Choices

woman with yoga mat and health drink

Are you ready for the New Year? If you would like to set goals for a healthier lifestyle this year but aren’t sure where to start, try creating SMART goals.

SMART goals are those that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Rather than setting vague resolutions like, “this year, I will exercise more” or “I will eat healthier this year,” create SMART resolutions that break down your goals into small, tangible, manageable, and trackable steps.

 

When making SMART resolutions remember to make specific, measureable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals:

  • Specific – What actions will you take to accomplish this goal?
  • Measurable – How will this goal be tracked?
  • Achievable – How will you make this goal doable with the necessary skills and resources?
  • Relevant – How does this goal align with your broader goals?
  • Time-Bound – What is the time frame in which you will accomplish this goal?

Creating SMART goals can help you achieve your health plan and build lifelong healthy habits. Make this January, and every month, a chance to make healthy choices that turn into healthy routines.

 

Here are a few examples of how to use SMART goal setting for a healthier lifestyle:

To Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

If your goal is to eat more fruits and vegetables this year the following is example of a SMART goal: “In order to eat more fruits and vegetables, I will include at least two fruits and vegetables in my lunches and snacks for work and track it on a calendar.”

  • Specific – This goal is specific because it details how the goal is accomplished.
  • Measurable – This goal is measurable because the number of fruits and vegetables is being tracked on a calendar.
  • Achievable – This goal is achievable because it includes small changes to everyday routine.
  • Relevant – This goal aligns with the broader goal of eating more fruits and vegetables.
  • Time-Bound – This goal has a daily (two fruits or vegetables each day) and weekly (each day of the work week) components.

To Be More Active

If your goal is to be more active this year the following is example of a SMART goal: “In order to be more active, I will take free 30 minute spin classes offered at the community center 4 days a week and track it on my smart phone.”

  • Specific – This goal is specific because it details how the goal is accomplished.
  • Measurable – This goal is measurable because the number of spin classes taken is being tracked on a smart phone.
  • Achievable – This goal is achievable because it includes tiny modifications to everyday routine.
  • Relevant – This goal aligns with the broader goal of being more physically active.
  • Time-Bound – This goal has a weekly (4 days out of the 7 day week) component.

 

Allow for setbacks and be flexible when you need to. A night out with friends or having the flu do not have to completely derail you from your path to a healthy lifestyle. Brainstorm strategies to overcome setbacks to help you stay on course and be open to adjusting your goals if you need to.

Don’t forget to celebrate your success with healthy rewards!  Whether your goal is simple or complex, reward yourself on your fitness journey with healthy, tangible rewards like a new   water bottle or an at home spa day. Recognizing the milestones of your accomplishments along the way can help to keep your motivation high and meet your New Year’s resolution health goals.

 

For more information on how to get started and stay motivated with physical activity this New Year, visit the CDC’s webpage.

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