New Year, New Me!! Sound familiar? Yet another year has been and gone and we are now well into the swing of 2019. It is most likely you have set yourself some new years resolutions. Generally speaking the most common goals relate to:
Goal setting, such as this, is imperative in leading healthy and happy lives, however we sometimes set ourselves up for failure before we even begin. In this article we will discuss goal setting. More exercise, eat better, be healthier, manage my finances, further my career and start a hobby are some of the most common New Year resolutions year after year. The goals themselves are fantastic concepts, however sometimes we are let down with the planning. One of the simplest and easiest ways to set any goal is to apply the SMART methodology. SMART is an acronym that stands for:
S - Smart
M - Measurable
A - Appropriate
R - Realistic
T - Time Based
A great starting point for any goal-setting plan is to make the end goal, or journey, specific. The above-mentioned goals all lack one thing - they are open ended. By simply making them more specific we can objectively measure the progress and determine their success more easily.
Instead of ‘eat better ‘we can adapt this to - 'eat 5+ healthier meals per week'.
For 'more exercise' could become - 'attend a gym 3 days a week and walk for 90+ minutes a week'.
For 'be healthier' we can say - 'reduce BP naturally, increase aerobic exercise levels to 3 times a week and cook dinner at home 5 times a week'.
Similar to specificity, by simply adding some form of outcome measure, or objectiveness, to our plan we can monitor our progress more easily and make changes accordingly. Examples include:
Lose 3kg of fat by July
Improve my 5km walking time by 30+ seconds each month.
Average monthly check ups (BP, weight, etc) to determine progress.
All the planning in the world will fail if the goals and process are not appropriate to you and your circumstances. Limitations such at ability, time, health and even location need to be taken into account. It would be silly to improve your swimming aerobic fitness if your long-term goal was to walk more. As it would be silly to follow a weight loss diet if you are already within a healthy weight range you are happy with.
Do not set unrealistic goals. Not only will you not reach them, but you will also feel unsuccessful and have a sense of failure if you do not achieve them. If you are not a morning person do not aim to walk every morning at 5am. If you love chocolate do not exclude it from your diet regime. Simply be realistic and honest with yourself from the start.
Similar again to specificity, by implying time limitations or restriction on the program you can deem progress much more easily. Short and long term goals are important. If you wish to lose 4 kg in 2019 then set short time goals of 1kg every 3 months. Alternatively if you wish to eat 5 healthier meals at home per week you have set the time restraint of a week.
Obviously every individual is different, however, by applying these simple adaptable SMART principles to your goal setting skill set, you will be much more likely to have a successful resolution, regardless of the goal!!
If you are looking to set some health, especially diet and exercise related, goals for this year (or anytime at all) please feel free to contact our reception on 07 5456 1599 for information on our allied health services, including dietetics and exercise physiology on the Sunshine Coast.