Are you ready to make a change and reach your goals once and for all? Have you tried to lose weight in the past and fallen short time and time again?
Learn what SMART goals are and download the template for SMART Goals.
SMART goals provide a specific guideline that can be applied to any change or goals you have. Are you trying to lose weight? Do you want to eat healthier? Do you want to start exercising?
SMART goals can be utilized for all of these!
Readiness to Change
The first step in reaching your goals is preparedness or readiness to change. It’s common knowledge that in order to lose weight you should start exercising more and eat healthier.
However, until you feel ready to change, change isn’t going to occur.
Readiness to change occurs when you accept that there is a challenge or a problem you want to overcome. When a problem is on your radar and you want to address it, then you’ll feel ready.
For example, maybe you’ve always known that your eating habits are not ideal. After some less than perfect blood test results, now you feel ready to commit to your health.
Whatever the catalyst is that gets you started, you’ll know when you’re ready.
Once you’re feeling ready to make a change in your life, it’s time to develop a game plan of how to achieve this change.
If you reflect back on all the times in the past you said you were going to make a change or “eat better” or “exercise more”, did it end up working long-term?
Often we end up falling short from our goals because we don’t have a clear path in mind to reach them.
By following SMART goal setting and using a template for SMART goals, your goals will change from a dream to a reality.
First, let’s break down what SMART stands for:
When you decide you’re ready to make a change, the first step is picking a specific goal. This helps you stay on track and narrow down how you will actually reach you goals.
Instead of saying you want to “eat better”, you need to find a specific place to start.
Eating “better” or “healthier” is a very common goal I hear from patients. This is a wonderful goal for your overall health, but is also very vague.
To apply the “S” in SMART goals, the goal needs to be very specific.
For this example, let’s make our goal “including more vegetables in our diet”.
I always encourage people to start with a relatively easy goal when you’re starting out.
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Now that we have set our specific goal to eat more vegetables, we need to choose a measurable amount. This helps turn the concept of “I want to eat better” into the reality of actually eating healthier.
Again, let’s go back to our example of eating more vegetables and let’s add a measurable quantity.
A measurable quantity must be something that you can keep track of or monitor.
For example, we’ll make our goal “I will eat 1 serving of vegetables per day”.
Yes, I am aware this is below the recommended amount of servings of vegetables, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. We’re not trying to overhaul our lifestyle in a week, but instead make
By making small measurable changes, we’re moving in the right direction at a pace that we can maintain long-term.
The next step in SMART goal planning is assessing if your goal is realistic or achievable. It’s important to make sure the goal you choose is something you can reach.
Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
If you work 40 hours per week and have a family, a goal of going to the gym 2 hours every day is probably not very realistic for you.
Again, I suggest starting with a goal that you can accomplish relatively easily at first. I think our goal of eating 1 serving of vegetables once per day is a very achievable goal that you can reach without tremendous stress or hardship.
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After you make sure your goal is achievable, the next step in SMART goal setting is evaluating the relevance of your goal.
You want to ensure that your goal (eating more vegetables) is working towards a larger goal (eating healthier).
This is a good time to reflect back on why you want to make a change in your life and evaluate what your ultimate long term goal is.
For our example, eating more vegetables is very relevant to our overall goal of eating healthier. Increased vegetable consumption provides many nutrients, vitamins, and fiber for your diet. These provide a multitude of health benefits including improvement in cholesterol and heart health.
The last step of SMART goal setting is making your goal time-bound. For example, we can say that our goal is to “eat 1 serving of vegetables every day for 2 weeks”.
Including an end-date for your goal helps to keep you on track and have something to work towards.
I usually encourage people to start with relatively short time frames (1-2 weeks) when you’re first starting out. This helps you stay focused and reach your goals quickly and relatively easily.
Get Started Today!
Now that you know how to set your SMART goals, it’s time to pick a small goal and work towards a healthier version of yourself! As I’ve said before, it is so important to pick a goal that you know you can achieve and build on gradually over time.
Most importantly, be aware that setbacks do happen! Stay focused and if you find that you get off track, remember that it is ok.
Life is all about balance and learning from your mistakes. Don’t get discouraged, but instead pick a new specific, measurable, achievable, relevant goal and begin again! It is your time to put your health first and reach your goals for good!
If you’re looking for more tips to improve your eating habits and stay on track with your health goals, check out my post on meal planning. Also, sign up for my newsletter to stay up to date on all of the latest posts!
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