As we go into the new year, many of us look to start healthier habits like exercising or dieting. One way to create these new habits is to follow the proven structure of SMART goals. Let’s talk more about what SMART goals are and how you can create them.
What are SMART goals?
The concept of SMART goals has been around since the 1980s. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. Let’s break each of these ideas down a little further:
- Specific: Your goals are concrete, detailed and well-defined.
- Measurable: Your goals quantifiable so you can track progress.
- Achievable: Your goals are feasible and easy to put into action.
- Realistic: Your goals are possible within existing constraints such as resources, cost and duration.
- Timely: Your goals include a time frame that sets boundaries around the objective and goals.
How to create SMART goals
Using SMART goals, you can define short-term motivation and long-term vision, as well as understand how you will be successful. The process breaks big-picture ideas into more digestible pieces. Here, you may want to consider a combination of short-term, long-term and process goals.
- Long-term goal example: Lose 15 pounds in three months.
- Short-term goal example: Lose 7 pounds for the first month.
- Process goal example: Walk 15 minutes a day for two weeks and then add five minutes to your walk each week.
How to use SMART goals for planning
Start with your SMART goal. For example, “I want to lose 15 pounds in 3 months.” Now, think about the ways to get there. For example, if you want to lose weight, you may consider changes around diet and exercise.
Now that you know the kinds of habits you’d like to address, it’s time to create a plan. If you want to eat more fruits and vegetables, you could plan to add a side salad with every meal, keep your house full of healthy snacks (almonds, apples, spinach, etc.) or eat dessert only on certain days of the week. If you want to increase the amount of time you spend exercising, make a plan for a specific time and place to exercise. For example, decide to walk around your neighborhood for 20 minutes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 10 a.m.
As a final boost to your SMART goals, look for ways to build a support system! Exercise with a friend or meet up with like-minded people in Monterey County. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you’re more likely to stay motivated if you have accountability partners and people in your life cheering for you.
Aspire can help! We offer several Community Connections classes designed around living healthy and setting goals that can help you get started. Aspire Health Plan members also have access to a Health Coaching program. If you have any questions about this program along or any additional resources for weight loss or health and wellness, contact Member Services at (855) 570-1600. TTY users call 711.