New Year, New You

Six Steps To “S.M.A.R.T” Goal-Setting

by Stephanie Conner

As another year begins, many of us are setting goals.How can you be more successful? Rhonda Zonoozi, exercise physiologist and health coach with the Sun Health Center for Health & Wellbeing, offers a few smart tips to help you stay on track.

1. Consider your vision

“Where do you want to be a year from now? How do you want to feel? How do you want to look?” Rhonda asks. “That’s the big picture vision.”

2. Break it down

Next, consider the behaviors that need to change for you to make progress toward your vision. Focus on a couple of simple changes at a time.

3. Set S.M.A.R.T. goals

S.M.A.R.T. goals are a great tool. Consider these guidelines.

Specific. The more specific you can get with your goals, the better. That might mean including times, durations and locations. If the broad goal is to exercise more, the specific goal is, “I will walk on the treadmill at the gym three days this week at 4 p.m. for 30 minutes.”

Measurable. This goes along with being specific. Having measurable goals lets you determine if you met your goal.

Action-Based. A lot of people have goals like lowering cholesterol or getting their blood pressure under control. But there needs to be action behind it. Maybe it’s a diet or exercise plan, for example.

Realistic. You want to stretch yourself, but if your goals are too difficult, you may not attempt or stay with them.

Timeline. Keeping the big-picture vision in mind, she says, it’s important to set a timeline for when you’ll take action. Ask yourself, “What small steps can I take over the next week or two to propel me toward my goal?”

4. Write and share

When you write your goals down on paper, they become real. People should put their written list in a place that they’ll see it every day. Also, it’s helpful to tell others about your goals.

5. Reward yourself

For some people, the promise of a reward helps them stay on track. Maybe you’ll get a massage or buy a new outfit. Reward yourself with these tangibles or even just positive words of encouragement.

6. Acknowledge slip-ups

Slip-ups happen, don’t let them throw off your long-term progress. Don’t beat yourself up, rather put all your energy and effort into getting back on track.

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