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Get SMART When Establishing Health Goals

10/04/11

  11:17:39 am, by MedBen5   , 258 words,  
Categories: Wellness

Get SMART When Establishing Health Goals

The Harvard Health Publications website says that simply setting a goal to get healthy isn’t enough – rather, it has to be the right goal.

It’s a smarter strategy to establish the goal you’re most likely to accomplish, rather than the goal you think you should make, says Dr. Edward Phillips, Director and Founder of the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine. By doing so, you’re better able to achieve that goal — which provides you with a solid foundation for tackling a tougher challenge.

Dr. Phillips recommends the SMART approach:

S — Set a very specific goal. For example, instead of stating “I will eat better", say “I will add one fruit serving — that’s half a cup, chopped — to my current daily diet.”

M — Find a way to measure progress. In the case above, “I will log my efforts each day on my calendar.”

A — Make sure it’s achievable. Be sure you’re physically capable of safely accomplishing your goal. If not, aim for a smaller goal.

R — Make sure it’s realistic. Again, choosing the change you most need to make isn’t as successful as choosing the change you’re most confident you’ll be able to make. An additional fruit serving a day is a small, manageable step toward better health.

T — Set time commitments. Pick a date and time to start — ”Wednesday at breakfast, I’ll add frozen blueberries to cereal” — and regular check-in dates — ”I’ll check my log every week and decide if I should make any changes in my routines to succeed.”

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