SMART goals are:
- Specific: What will I do?
- Measurable: How will I track my progress?
- Achievable: What steps will I take to make this happen?
- Relevant: Is this important enough to me to do it?
- Time-framed: When will I take these steps?
Your SMART goals should consist of both long-term and short-term goals. Establish your long-term goal first. For example, “I will walk briskly for 30 minutes a day at least five days a week.”
Then break down your long-term goal into easily achievable, short-term goals. Your initial short-term goal may be, “I will walk 15 minutes during my lunch hour at least three days each week for the next month.”
After reaching your short-term goal, extend your efforts gradually until you ultimately accomplish your long-term goal.
Don’t give up
It can be difficult to make changes to your lifestyle, so ensure that you have a network of family and friends to encourage you during your health journey. Also, consider keeping a health journal to record your activities and achievements, adding to your motivation and accountability.
Embracing a healthy lifestyle is an ongoing, dynamic process. Creating a health plan, engaging your support system and celebrating successes are positive behaviors that will deliver benefits this year and beyond. Use this New Year’s celebration as an opportunity to begin the journey of living a healthier life.
Stephen Campbell, M.D., is a Mayo Clinic Health System family physician. He will offer a free public presentation “A Healthy Start to 2013” in the lower level conference center of Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato on Jan. 22 at 7 p.m. For more information, please go to www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org.