If the new year brings thoughts of a new you, you are not alone. Many people strive to make changes each new year. And the new year is a great time to break with old habits and begin new ones. But the problem is not making changes, it is trying to do too much, too soon. So how can we ensure meaningful lifestyle changes? The key is to be SMART about it. Keep reading to learn about S.M.A.R.T. goals.
If you want to know how to get to your destination, you need a map to guide your way. Making plans using the S.M.A.R.T. goals acronym is a great way to ensure that the changes are doable – and sustainable. S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Timely. And by using these terms as our guideposts, we can ensure our journey is a smooth one.
Specific-You want to make your goal as specific as possible. Instead of saying “I’m going to eat healthier”, define what that means to you. Perhaps it is having a half cup of vegetables at every meal.
Measurable-You want to make your goal quantifiable. If we say that we are going to have a half cup of vegetables at each meal, we can certainly measure that.
Actionable-Is your goal something you can act upon? We can certainly act upon having a half cup of vegetables at each meal. But how? For this example, you can prep vegetables in advance to always have some handy. Having frozen meals that already include vegetables is another great way to help you achieve your goal.
Realistic-How realistic is your goal? If you do not eat vegetables regularly, then having a half cup of vegetables at each meal may be a lot for you. If you love your veggies, then this goal may not be enough of a challenge. The key is to stretch yourself while being realistic about what is possible for you at this moment.
Timely-Putting a time frame around your goal will provide a sense of accomplishment once you achieve it. So having a half cup of vegetables with each meal for a week will be your measure of time.
S.M.A.R.T. goals can and should change. Once you achieve one goal, move on to the next. And with each new goal, make it a bit more challenging. Before long, you will be well into the new year with the S.M.A.R.T. new you!