Nov 30, 2022 11:00:00 AM | 4 Min Read

Using SMART Goals for Lifestyle Changes

Using SMART Goals for Lifestyle Changes

We all know that changing your habits and lifestyle isn’t easy, and we often self-sabotage before we even begin with our automatic negative thoughts. When you know your health is suffering and want to change any aspect of your life, you want to set yourself up for success. When setting goals, you want them to be meaningful to you but also able to impact your life positively. One of the ways to help you with your progress and prevent stagnancy is by using a SMART goal.

SMART stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Seeing your goals this way can be the first step in lasting change. Rather than trying to change your entire life at once, you take small, SMART steps that seem more manageable. Setting a SMART goal can help you with focus, self-discipline, motivation, and setting priorities.

Specific

When setting a goal, you want to start with the S, which stands for specific.  When establishing your goal, you want to have a defined destination.  Don’t be vague with your goal. This is the part of the process where you want to spell out what you want to accomplish.  Rather than stating – “I want to lose weight,” state something specific like, “I want to fit into my jeans so that I feel confident again.” When you match your specific goal with an emotion you want to feel at the end of the process, that will draw your mind into the goal and your body.  You can also start incorporating that feeling into meeting your goal for little hits of accomplishment along the way.

Measurable

The M stands for measurable.  When we can see our progress clearly and measure the ups and downs, it helps us find what is working and what is not in our goal. Set up a check-in with yourself at least twice each week and measure where you are in relation to your goal. If you wander off course, you should check in every other day. We all know that what gets measured gets done, so make sure you take the time to measure your progress regularly.

Attainable

The A stands for Attainable, and this just means you do not want to make a goal that there is no way you can ever reach the goal. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, you want to clarify how much, but do not say you want to lose 100 lbs in one month. This is not attainable and is setting yourself up for failure. Sometimes it is better to set a smaller goal and then exceed it rather than a larger one and fall short. You are more likely to keep on your path when you feel accomplished.

Realistic

The R stands for realistic. This is exactly what it sounds like: make your goal something that authentically means something to you and is not something you know you will never do, and not even sure you have the desire to do it. Goals are not SHOULDS. Goals are something you truly desire to BE. You want to ensure your goal is tailored to you and what you need to improve your life.

Timely

Finally, we have the T, which stands for Timely.  Setting a reasonable time frame gives you enough pressure to help you accomplish what it is you want to achieve. However, you want to put only a little pressure on yourself. This can cause more stress and anxiety and make it almost impossible to achieve your goals.

The most important thing to remember is that achieving your goal may not be linear. We are humans; we all make mistakes but can also accomplish amazing things! So sometimes, you may move backward from your goal, which may then give you more momentum to keep pushing forward. 

SMART goals are not magic, but they can give you a framework that helps you make big changes seem more manageable. Using tools such as the SMART Goal or working with a Health Coach to help you establish productive habits and create a more positive environment can help you achieve your health goals.  If you are interested in starting the process to make lifestyle changes to become a healthier you but need help determining where to begin, contact ViTel Health and work with one of our certified Health Coaches to set a SMART goal can be a great first step.

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Topics: From Our Physicians, Health & Wellness Tips

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