Do I need S M A R T Goals for my Health?
Short answer is most likely yes, it would make your life much easier. Whether you want to boost your activity levels or implement a new diet, setting SMART health goals can take you closer to success. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
Change Is Hard - But Why?
We all know that change can be hard. Especially when it comes to transforming unhealthy habits into healthy ones. If it weren't, the chronic disease epidemic would be non-existent. We would all eat a nutrient-dense, whole-foods diet, get sufficient sleep, manage stress levels, and embrace other aspects of a healthy, primal lifestyle.
But, we as a population clearly don't do that. Only about 6% of American's actually follow these 5 basic, healthy habits:
A few Harvard researchers found that men who pursued these five low-risk lifestyle behaviors could add an average of 12 years to their lives; for women, that number jumped to 14.
Although there's a clear motivator to live a healthy life, many of us just don't do so. Why? Is there something fundamentally wrong with us that causes us to behave in ways that aren't in our best interests? Not at all. The fact is, we're not always ready to change and, even once we are, many of us don't know how to do it.
The change happens in multiple stages. At the beginning, most of us are not ready to take new actions. It's hard. It's inconvenient. It hurts. It feels different. We may feel doubtful or uncertain about whether we really need to change, we may not feel prepared, and we're not all that motivated to make any big shifts in our lifestyles. However, eventually, as we progress through the stages of change, that ambivalence dissolves. We make a decision and we feel motivated to follow through. Either because we had a talk with our children, we spoke to a good friend, we watched an interesting documentary, you name it. This is the stage where goal setting can help the most and it's a great time to try out the SMART methodology.
How to Set SMART Goals for Your Health
It matters how we define and articulate our goals to achieve them. The SMART methodology aims to help you establish and express your goals by ensuring that they're:
Specific means you've targeted a precise area for improvement.
Measurable means you can quantify and track your progress towards your goal. When setting your SMART goal, identify how you'll monitor your headway. Ask yourself: "How will I know when I have accomplished my goal?"
Relevant means it's a worthwhile goal that matches what you want from your life. The best goals align with your values, beliefs, desires, dreams and purpose.
Time-bound means that you're setting a deadline for your goal. Without a cutoff date for completion, you’re more likely to procrastinate. The examples above all include clear timelines that orient the goal in the present, not some distant time in the future.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Important to remember is that the SMART approach is not a perfect fit for everyone. Around 40 percent of people do great with having objective-oriented goals (like SMART goals). The remaining 60 percent would benefit from a more directional, less specific approach. Embrace SMART goals for your health journey. If you're ready to set SMART goals, consider reach out. We can offer you one-on-one support to create and sustain steady, and even dramatic, change in your life.