nav-left cat-right

New Year Health Goals

According to a recent survey, the top 5 resolutions for the new year are improved fitness, improved finances, improved mental health, losing weight and improved diet. How many resolutions or goals does each person set? Almost half of participants surveyed report setting 3 goals for 2024.

If you have health in mind, you are not alone. But what makes a goal more definitive than a wish? A few things. Make sure your goal is SMART, specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Put some thought into your goal. Consider this: the best goals for an individual align with their values, or the beliefs, interests and principles that guide your life. For example, if your goal is fitness/activity-driven and you value family, community, fun, and adventure, joining a climbing gym with your family may fall in line with these core values.

Make your goal action versus outcome oriented. In other words, instead of what you want to achieve at the end (weight loss) what will you do to get there? What are the steps or actions that will enable you to lose 1 lb at a time to get to that ultimate goal? Changing specific eating habits, practicing portion control and/or increasing exercise can be short-term goals that get you there.

Keep your goals positive rather than negative. Focus on what you will do/have/add versus what you must limit/omit and avoid. With these tips you can set goals that go beyond wishes and hopes.

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.