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SMART New Year’s Resolutions

By Kari Richie, Springmoor Health and Fitness Director

New Year’s resolutions are a fabulous concept. A New Year gives us the chance to “start over” with a fresh outlook on life. Many people set the goal to be healthy, lose weight or eat better. Those goals come with good intentions, but are rarely accomplished. The problem? Most resolutions involve inspiration but no preparation. No matter how big or small your goal—whether it’s losing five or 50 pounds, walking a mile or running your first marathon—creating change requires planning and S.M.A.RT goal setting.
Follow these guidelines to set a SMART goal for 2015:

Kari Richie, Springmoor Health and Fitness Director
Kari Richie, Springmoor Health and Fitness Director

Specific. Your goal should be clear and easy to understand. A common goal to “get healthy” is too general. There are many ways to get healthy. How do you want to do it? By losing weight? Start exercising? Stop smoking? Break it down and it will be easier to manage. Let’s pick weight loss and make a SMART goal out of it together. For example: “I will lose weight.”Measurable. A goal to “lose weight” is not enough. Making your goal measurable means adding a number so you can track your progress and know when you’ve accomplished your goal.Attainable. Before you can add a number, you have to know how high or low you want to go. It’s good to “shoot for the stars,” but don’t be too extreme. Likewise, don’t make a goal too easy because it won’t be very motivating. Only you know your limits. Let’s take our weight loss goal. What percentage is attainable for you? Research suggests that 5-10 percent weight loss is attainable for most overweight people. A measurable, attainable goal: “I will lose 7 percent of my body weight.”Relevant. Set goals that are important to where you are in your life right now. Don’t set a goal that someone else is pressuring you to attain. Examine our goal so far. Does it seem relevant to you? If so, let’s keep going. If you are not concerned about weight loss or this is not a good time in your life to focus on that, choose something that IS motivating to you.Time-bound. Include an end-point. Knowing that you have a deadline motivates you to get started.Since healthy weight loss is about 1-2 pounds per week, set your deadline accordingly. For our example we can use three months. “I will lose 7 percent of my body weight in three months.”

Now we have a SMART goal! With a goal like this, it’s a good idea to set a few more action-oriented SMART goals so that you have a game plan. Here are a few examples:

  •  I will walk 5 days a week for 30 minutes each.
  •  I will drink water instead of soda every day this week.
  •  I will bring my lunch to work instead of eating out four days this week.

Becoming a better version of you starts by being SMART!