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Sample SMART Goals

Most people have already heard that setting goals is an important step in making thoughts and wishes a reality. Whether professional, personal, academic or health-related, the goal you set should be SMART. This stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant/Realistic and Time-Bound. Time and again, these goals are more motivating and get you to the next level, no matter your objective. So, in the area of health, nutrition and fitness, what does a SMART goal look like (versus a general goal). Check out these 5 examples:

General: I will eat better. (what, how, when?)
SMART: I will eat 2 servings of green vegetables daily, at lunch and at dinner. (You can also specify a duration).

General: I will be more active. (how, what, when?)
SMART: I will wake up at 6:30 am (instead of 6:45 am) on M, W, and F so I can take a 15-minute walk (or bike ride) before getting ready for work. (You can specify a specific time for your walk).

General: I will eat less sugar to lower my blood sugar levels.
SMART: I will stop adding sugar to my coffee in the morning and have an afternoon snack of 1 oz nuts and a piece of fruit instead of 2 chocolate chip cookies.

General: I will de-clutter my bedroom closet and dresser drawers, donating some items.
SMART: Every Saturday afternoon for the next month I will go through 3 drawers and 1/4 of my closet. (Furthermore, you could add that you will have 2 piles: donate and throw away, etc).

General: I will start following the Mediterranean diet.
SMART: For the next month I will transition to a Mediterranean-style diet by doing the following: eating fish 2x/wk (Tuesday and Friday), snacking on nuts, and trying a new Mediterranean-style recipe on a Sunday evening.

3 Tips for Creating Healthy Habits

Creating healthy habits is a great way to make small, incremental lifestyle improvements for better performance and to reduce your risk of developing chronic disease. If it truly is all about the journey, make it worth your while by keeping these tips in mind:

Set goals: What do you want to do? Accomplish? Goals should be clear, reasonable, specific, and, if possible, measured or quantified in some way. Instead of “I will eat healthier this year,” try “I will eat 3 servings of vegetables every day. Write your goal down and keep it visible. Read it and re-read it regularly. Use power statements, “I will” instead of “I’ll try.” How will you achieve this goal? What are the steps? If your goal is weight loss, what tools, resources, activities and habits that help you get there?

Stay positive and reward yourself along the way: Celebrate successes and don’t underestimate the importance of recognizing your progress. If your goal is to complete a 5K run, reward yourself every time you complete a practice race, shed time on your miles, etc. Instead of saying “I can’t” say “I can” and “I will.” Complaining won’t get the job done and if it is too easy, was it really a worthy goal in the first place?

Mark your calendar: In addition to writing down your health goals, use an online, old-fashioned, calendar, day timer, journal, etc. Use it to schedule your workouts, shopping trips, to make notes. Noting the number of veggie servings you eat daily will enable you to track weekly average servings. Stay on top of your progress. Make time for your goals and specify the steps you’ll need to complete to reach them.