Introducing the “smarter” way to take charge of your health…
The S.M.A.R.T. model is related to health education and health promotion planning yet it can be applied, so easily to the changes we strive to make in everyday life. the model stands for the Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Specific aspects of making and reaching goals as well as maintaining change.
Be Specific: pick one or two goals that are personal to your current habits and lifestyle. Rather than setting a broad, overarching goal of “Getting in better shape”, try breaking that down into smaller, more specific goals such as:
- losing 1-2 lbs a week over the next 10 weeks
- getting 20 minutes of exercise per day, 3 days per week
- eating fruits, veggies and grains at EACH meal
- drinking 8 glasses of water/day
- spending 5 minutes each day in mindful meditation
- keeping a journal of positive thoughts (minimum of one thought per day)
Make sure your goal is Measurable: find a way to track the progress toward reaching your goals. This could mean creating or purchase a log book (like this one for 4$ from Calorie King) or using an online tracker like myfitnesspal (also has a smart phone app to help track progress on the go). Either way, make sure you are able to continuously measure and track your progress toward your goals. Without a method for measuring progress, it becomes too easy to forget that you even set a goal for yourself in the first place!
Make sure your goals are Achievable: Goals should be healthy and reasonable; it would NOT be healthy to try losing more than 1-2 lb per week or to expect to run a Marathon in 3 months when you have never even attempted to run (a marathon can take 26+ weeks of training if you are starting from scratch). I am not asking you to limit what you want to achieve in life I am only asking you to answer a simple question… “How do you eat an elephant?” Answer? “One bite at a time”.
Keep your goals Relevant: really take some time to think about what you want, not what other people, magazines or the media tell you that you should want. What are your personal needs? this does not just mean weight loss or strength gains, this includes stress reduction, increased flexibility, desire to compete in a Triathalon, body building competition or just be able to take the stairs rather than the elevator. Make sure your goals remain true to your personal needs, goals and desires!
Time Specific: sometimes this can be one of the hardest parts of the process; giving your self a deadline for reaching your goal. It has been proven that people are much more likely to achieve their goal, rather than put it off, when they have a deadline to look forward to! examples would be:
- losing 8-10 lbs in 10 weeks (by cutting caloric intake by 500 cal/day OR burning 500 cal/day with exercise OR a mix of the two)
- Eating fruits, veggies and grains at every meal for the next 5 weeks
- Be able to touch your toes in 4 weeks
- Completing a positive thought journal for one full month with at least 30 entries (1/day)
- Spend 10 minutes in mindful meditation each day for the next week and record any changes in mood
Whatever your goals, do not be afraid to go after them with vigor and passion. Health should not be the end goal, it should be the vessel that allows us to reach all of the other goals in our lives! I want to live a long healthy life so that I will have the health and stamina to play with my future children, to do cartwheels and handstands well into old age, to be able to walk on a balance beam when I am 50 and to travel the world like my grandparents! (Luck dogs just got back from France… Thanks for the invite guys!)
Well, as the coffee gets cold another day comes to a close. I wish you good health and happy days ahead!