The guys and gals over at Healthy Science have some advice for aspiring New Years goal setters- use SMART Goals! Check out their article about goal-setting for the New Year: http://www.healthyscience.net/smart-goal-setting-for-the-new-year/
or just read the original here:
Happy New Year!
With each new year, typically comes a new set of resolutions, but very rarely do we think of these resolutions in terms of goals. If we put as much thought and effort into making new years’ “goals” instead of just “resolutions,” we just might be more likely to actually accomplish a few things.
Let’s look at one of the most popular resolutions—improving fitness (or more commonly,losing weight). If we immediately begin thinking of this resolution as a goal and treating it that way, it could have a significant impact on our success rate and whether or not we “stick with it.”
A health and fitness goal should be treated like any other goal—it should be written down and then broken into mini-goals, which will help us maximize our chances of actually achieving the greater goal.
One proven way to help set effective goals is using the “SMART” method. Ask yourself: Is it specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-based? The “SMART method allows you to take a mere idea or “resolution” and transform it into reality.
S – Specific: The goal should convey exactly what is to be accomplished. For example, rather than stating, “I want to lose weight,” try something more specific like, “I want to lose 10 pounds.”
M – Measurable: The goal should be set up in a way so that progress can be evaluated. Continuing with our weight loss goal, the measurable factor might be something like, “I want to fit into that size 8 dress from last year.”
A – Attainable: The goal should be possible. This doesn’t mean you should make the goal too easy (un-motivating), but you definitely don’t want to make the goal too difficult (creating frustration). An attainable goal is one that should be motivating, challenging and doable.
R – Realistic: The goal should be in line with your lifestyle, needs and abilities. For example, a health seeker with a knee injury who is trying to lose weight using a cardiovascular activity would probably not want to choose a sprinting routine. A better approach would be choosing an activity or exercise equipment that keeps that particular limitation in mind, such as swimming, biking or using an elliptical trainer.
T – Time-based: The goal should include a specific date of completion, with mini-deadlines along the way. For example, “I want to achieve my goal of losing 10 pounds by March 31, 2012.” You could then set up dates where you’d like to reach -2 pounds, -5 pounds, etc.
With all that said, I would like to encourage you to set one or more fitness goals for 2012 and WRITE THEM DOWN!! You can utilize any number of the free online tools available for keeping a diet and exercise journal or you can write them down on sticky notes and put the notes up where you can see them each day. This will help to remind you of what you committed yourself to and will help keep you accountable.
In addition, when setting your goals, try to identify a support system. Having a spouse, family member, friend or co-worker who supports your desire to change will only enhance your chances for success. In many cases, that support system may even turn into your exercise partner, giving you another level of healthy accountability.
Utilizing these tips along with the SMART method for goal-setting will help set you up for success. Remember, as with almost anything else in life, health and fitness is a journey and a lifestyle, not a sprint or overnight result.
Happy 2012, and let this year be your best year yet!
Great advice, and if you want accountability for your resolution, be sure to use the SMART goals app! http://www.smartgoalsneverfail.com