Q: What can I do to reach my health goals?
A: Improving your health can be overwhelming and challenging, especially when we lead busy lifestyles. Making the decision to improve your health is the first step in the right direction. The next step is goal-setting, and a great strategy is setting a SMART (Specific, Measure, Achievable, Realistic, Time-Bound) goal.
S-Is your goal specific?
Set a defined goal. Let’s say you have identified that you want to eat more fruits and vegetables. Your specific goal can be, “I will replace my daily snacks with a fruit or a vegetable.”
M- Is your goal measurable?
All goals should have a measurable outcome, so that you can track them. If you decide, “I will eat vegetables or fruit as my snack twice a day,” you can hold yourself accountable.
A-Is your goal attainable?
Setting a goal that you can actually do is important to success. Maybe to start, you decide that Monday through Friday while you are at work you will eat a fruit or veggie as snack. This will help you from grabbing something from the vending machine.
R-Is your goal relevant?
In this case, relevant means realistic. Setting a goal that you know you can commit to is key to success. Do you think you can consistently bring your snacks to work or school every day? While this goal may be challenging, it is not impossible, and you know you can do it! SMART goals are great to establish habits that lead to long-term changes. Realistically, you know that you may hit obstacles or roadblocks. Maybe you have a vacation coming, or and unforeseen event. Don’t let these curb your progress, you can pick-back up as soon as you are able.
T- Is it time bound?
Goals need a starting point. Planning and scheduling help you reach your goals. Knowing that you will need time to wash, chop, and store your fruits and veggies, plan a recurring day and time just for food preparation. This helps you to be able to “grab-and-go” your snacks for the rest of the week. Also, set a date that you want to evaluate your goal. Let’s say you decide to measure your success after six weeks. At the six weeks mark you may find that your goal has become a permanent habit, and that you want to start a new goal. Maybe you have had some setbacks, but you want to keep focusing on this goal.
If you want to get healthier, but are not sure where to start, consult with your physician. Together you can target a goal that is SMART for you!
A Healthier You begins from within and a Healthier Community Happens Together!