So although I am 23 days past the new year and it is highly cliche to start my first post with resolutions, I am jumping on the band wagon anyway. I was inspired by this article here and appreciated it because it was written by the National Institute of Health (these guys are a big deal). And although very simplistic, it reminded me of a concept I learned during my Nutrition Counseling and Education course at USU.
The concept is SMART goals with SMART standing for:
Specific is when you would ask yourself the who, what , where, why, when, how questions. Instead of saying ” I will get in shape” say something like ” I will go to the gym every Monday Wednesday Friday from noon-1″ or something like that.
Measurable has to have concrete criteria and this is where the quantitative results would come through. Are you going to track your progress to get in shape by the number of pounds you loose, the number of miles you can run, or the seconds you can hold your breath under water ? (I don’t know if that’s really the best way to track fitness, but you get the idea).
Attainable is the ability to reach your goal. If you prioritize your goals and pick something that is very important or motivating to you, then you can attain it. As time goes on and your goal becomes closer to being attained, it won’t be because your goal changed or shrunk, but because your attitude and determination has changed and grown.
Relevant means being real folks. One of my personal pet-peeves is when people tell me they are going to loose 20 lbs in a month so they can fit into a certain dress for an event or something. NOT gonna happen! Sorry, here’s a tissue. Pick small goals that can be achieved over a short period at first, so that you can feel confident in your goal attaining abilities, but also don’t shoot too low because low goals mean low motivation. Consider the best plan for yourself.
And finally, Time Bound. To me this is the most important step. Open ended goals mean a endless amount of time to accomplish them. If it’s a fabulous pair of jeans you are trying to fit into, they aren’t going to even be in style 8 years from now when you finally reach that goal! I learned this concept when I was training for a half marathon. I had a certain amount of miles I would have to run by each Friday and I either did or didn’t do it. and unfortunately for me, one week I didn’t make my miles quota and never ended up running the race. I really need to work on my SMART goals too apparently…
I apologize that this post isn’t as fun and flavorful (no pun intended) as my future ones will be, but I think it’s an appropriate place to start. I make it a high priority when I do nutrition consults to make sure my client leaves with a SMART goal, and then if I have a follow-up appointment with them we can use the goal to really determine if it was accomplished. It eliminates the grey areas for both myself and the client. So I hope you will keep this in mind as you make health and nutrition goals for yourself. Now I am off to the gym on a Monday from 5:30-7, so that I can sweat 3 oz, feel endorphins afterwards, and probably not loose any weight this one day, but if I keep going until Friday maybe I can loose .8 lbs. How’s that for a SMART goal?
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