Succeeding in 2021 with these SMART tips
The method often advocated by physical therapists is the SMART method of setting goals.
“When setting goals, think about process and outcome,” states the Mayo Clinic, which advocates setting SMART goals for health-related issues such as exercise, weight loss and healthy eating. “Process goals are most important because changing your habits (processes) is key to success.”
The Mayo Clinic offers the following guidance for setting your own SMART goals:
Don’t just throw out a general goal; be sure to include all the important W’s in your goal: who, what, where, when and why. Rather than saying, “I’d like to lose weight” be more specific by stating, “I want to lose 30 pounds by summer so I can go backpacking without experiencing joint pain.”
Always set concrete marks that allow you to measure your goal. Include a long-term mark (e.g., lose 30 pounds by summer) as well as benchmarks along the way (e.g., lose 8 pounds by the end of January, 13 pounds by the end of February, etc).
Your goal shouldn’t be easy to achieve, but you must have the attitude, ability, skill and financial capacity to achieve it. Starting with a solid foundation, attainability is something that can develop over time.
Anyone can set a goal, but are you willing and able to work toward this goal? In other words, are there any irrefutable road blocks that can and will hinder your progress? Typically, if you believe it, then it’s more than likely realistic.
Don’t just set your goal for “whenever.” Set a challenging yet realistic timeline, be it to lose a specific amount of weight by your sibling’s wedding or to be in shape by the spring’s first 5K race. Make your goal tangible.
And of course, before beginning any new exercise regimen or weight-loss program, consult your physician or a physical therapist.
“Lasting lifestyle and behavior changes don’t happen overnight,” said Katherine C. Nordal, PhD, executive director for the professional practices of the APA. “Willpower is a learned skill, not an inherent trait. We all have the capacity to develop skills to make changes last.”