When setting plans to improve your health-related habits or wellness routine, you may find it more challenging than it appears. Changing behaviors and breaking bad habits can often be difficult despite your best efforts. However, no matter which aspect of your health and wellness you seek to change, setting SMART goals can help support you on this journey.
Have you heard of SMART goals? If not, you're missing out on a simple yet effective tool. This article will explain the idea of SMART goals and how to use them to achieve your wellness objectives.
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What Are SMART Goals?
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound — five components that can be useful as you craft your health objectives. Each element pertains to specific criteria that you should include in your plan. Below, let's explore the five components of a SMART goal.
First, you'll want to make sure your goals are specific. For example, instead of creating a broad objective, such as "I want to lose weight," opt for more precise goals like "I will jog four times a week." By being specific, you'll visualize your methods and approaches instead of just noting the outcome. As you create these plans, focus on what you will do rather than what you won't do.
Your goals should also be measurable, allowing you to stay accountable for the duration. For example, if your objective is to jog four times per week, you can measure and track this goal using a calendar. Adding measurable criteria to your plans can also keep you on track, as it provides a realistic way to see your progress.
While dreaming big is admirable, setting realistic goals is more important. For example, a goal of losing 50 pounds in two months isn't sensible or safe. So instead, set reasonable and achievable goals by breaking down a large plan into several smaller chunks. When creating attainable objectives, likewise consider your plan's time commitment.
Each sub-goal you set should be relevant on a personal level. For example, if you seek to increase physical activity but have a knee injury, there are better ideas than creating a running goal. Consider your objectives carefully as you craft them, choosing relevant plans that make sense for you, your preferences, and your lifestyle. If the goal does not personally apply to you, you're unlikely to stay motivated enough to achieve it.
The final component of the SMART acronym involves creating goals that have a duration attached to them. For example, a time-bound goal could be "I will lose 10 pounds in four months." Connecting the "four months" to the objective sets a realistic time frame to help keep you accountable. Therefore, aim for a reasonable timeline when considering time-bound objectives and understand that it must also be flexible.
Types of Health Goals
SMART goals work for various health goals, including physical, mental, and social health goals. For example, common physical health goals include losing weight, increasing muscle mass, or improving your sleep health. Plans to improve mental health may address things like reducing anxiety or improving stress management. Lastly, examples of social health goals include making new friends or improving your relationships.
Tips and Reminders for Crafting SMART Goals
• Remember that no plan is too small. Any effort you make to improve your health and wellness is good!
• Each person's objectives are unique. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to setting goals to improve your health.
• Write your SMART goal(s) down in a place where you see them often. A whiteboard on your fridge and a corkboard hanging in the entryway are equally great places because they see high foot traffic. Seeing your goal written down can help keep you motivated!
• Be flexible. Despite your best efforts, it's normal to experience roadblocks or obstacles on a health and wellness journey.
• Don't rush the process. Crafting SMART goals can take some time.
• Review your goals. Read over your SMART goals (or say them aloud) to ensure they're specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
Examples of SMART Goals for Health
How can you use SMART goals to improve your health? Below are some examples to consider.
• "I will practice mindfulness for 10 minutes each day until June."
• "I will walk at least 30 minutes per day in July."
• "I will spend 10 minutes in nature after work for the remainder of 2023."
• "I will stop screen time at least one hour before bed for three months."
Each SMART goal example contains a specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound objective. If one or more of these examples fit your goals, great! If not, why not create your personalized goals today?
Creating Your SMART Goals
Developing SMART goals is an easy and effective way to help set yourself up for success as you improve your health and wellness. So begin crafting your SMART goals now, and remember to check out the ActiveFit+ blog for more ways to bolster your wellness. Here's to your health!