By Kristi Winkels, RDN, LD
The new year is a great time to focus on healthy habits but getting started can feel overwhelming. When we make New Year’s Resolutions like “I want to lose weight” we are missing some key ingredients for success. Long range goals are important but breaking it down into smaller goals makes it less daunting. Not sure where to begin? Think SMART:
Specific- “I want to lose weight” is not specific. How will you do it? Drink less soda? Eat smaller portions? Exercise more? If the list of areas of improvement is long, start small. Choose one or two to tackle first.
Measurable – “I’m going to eat less fast food” is a good start but how do you measure that? “I’m going to limit fast food to once per week” is a more measurable goal.
Achievable – “I’m going to exercise for 45-60 minutes, 5 days per week” might be a good long-range goal but if you’re not exercising at all, it might be too lofty to start with. It’s OK to start small and build. Achieving a small goal boosts your confidence and keeps you going.
Relevant – Consider if the goal matters to you and how it benefits you. It’s difficult to work toward a goal simply because someone else thinks you should do it. It must matter to you.
Timed – Give yourself a deadline and stick to it. Put it on the calendar and take time to evaluate your progress. If you didn’t meet your goal, try not to be hard on yourself. Instead, use it as an opportunity to learn and try again. Ask yourself what got in the way of meeting the goal and consider what would be more do-able right now.
Remember to be patient with yourself. Like climbing a rock wall, making lifestyle changes requires small steps that are not always upward. Use each step as a learning opportunity and keep your SMART goals in sight!