Category - Rorie Dunphey

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The Power of Habit
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Fabulous Fiber!
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10 Tips to Eat Healthy During Summer Travel
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Stress and Your Health
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Improving Heart Health, One Step at a Time
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7 Tips for Healthy Eating During the Holidays
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6 Mindful Eating Tips
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10 Tips to Stay Physically Active
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Tips for Healthy Eating During the Holidays
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Is Your Health Goal a SMART Goal?

The Power of Habit

By: Rorie Dunphey

Have you ever ‘decided’ to make changes to your health (lose weight, quit smoking, start exercising…), only to be disappointed in yourself days or weeks later having ‘failed’? You may feel disappointed in yourself due to a ‘lack of willpower’ or simply feel overwhelmed by how hard it is to change. In fact, change is not a ‘decision’, but rather it is a process that takes time and patience.

Don’t underestimate the power of habit! Habit formation (whether starting or stopping a behavior) is both physical and psychological. Our brain actually creates neural pathways for new behaviors. Our body and mind are in the habit of behaving in a certain way, and it can take time for a new habit to form or an old habit to diminish.

Change is a process, not an event. Here are some tips to help create healthy habits:

  • Practice patience. Research tells us that it takes as much as 180 days to truly let go of an old habit and adopt a new one. So hang in there!
  • Stop beating yourself up! Putting yourself down if you find yourself engaged in the old habit can damage our confidence. Instead, practice positive thinking and be compassionate with yourself.
  • Celebrate catching yourself. Instead of putting yourself down for ‘being weak’, congratulate yourself for being aware. Each time you catch yourself and become aware, you will build confidence and motivation.
  • Use structures to help remind yourself about the new behavior or goal. For example, put sticky notes on the bathroom mirror, set an alarm on your phone, or link the new behavior to something you already do (like walking right after breakfast).
  • Involve others in your goal. Let family, friends or co-workers know you are working to change. Enlist support and feedback to help. Find a partner with a similar goal to help motivate each other!
  • Work with a health coach or healthcare provider. They can provide support and accountability during the process of habit formation.

Don’t wait until New Years to make healthy changes in your life. Habits can be changed or created any time of year!


Rorie Dunphey works under Vermont’s Blueprint for Health as the RN Chronic Care Coordinator at Family Practice Associates in Cambridge. She works one-on-one with people and also leads classes to promote health and help people better manage their chronic diseases. She also assists patients in accessing community and state resources to better coordinate their health and wellness needs. Rorie has a particular passion for promoting a healthy diet and exercise routine to inspire people to live their best life.

 

Fabulous Fiber!

By: Rorie Dunphey

Health Benefits of Fiber_Whole Grains

Why is FIBER important?

A fiber rich diet has many benefits to a healthy lifestyle. It can reduce your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as several kinds of cancer. It also can improve cholesterol, lower blood pressure, regulate digestion and help with weight loss. With farmers markets and CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture) in full swing now, eating locally produced, fiber-rich foods is both easy and delicious!

What is FIBER?

There are 2 kinds: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber can help control blood sugar and cholesterol, while insoluble fiber adds bulk to our colon and can act like a brush, helping food pass through the digestive tract more efficiently. Fiber can be found in fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts and beans.

What is a WHOLE GRAIN?

A whole grain has 3 layers: the fiber-rich bran or outer layer, the endosperm or middle layer, and the germ or inner layer. Whole grains are not only rich in fiber, but also are loaded with nutrients. Some examples include whole grain breads, oats, corn meal, bulgur, quinoa, brown rice, farro and popcorn. A refined grain is processed leaving only the middle or endosperm layer is left, thus removing much of the beneficial fiber and nutrients.

How much is ENOUGH?  It is generally recommended that people consume 25 to 38 grams of fiber each day. Add fiber to your diet slowly, over a few weeks. Too much too fast can cause bloating or gas.

How can I add more FIBER to my diet?

  • Eat 5-10 servings of vegetables and fruits per day, ½ cup of whole grains (brown rice, whole grain bread), ¼ cup nuts, ½ cooked veggies, 1 cup of fruit
  • Read labels! Choose breads, cereals, pasta and crackers that list ‘Whole Grain’ as the first ingredient. Look for the ‘Whole Grain’ stamp on the package and beware of deceptive marketing. ‘Multi Grain’, ‘wheat’ and ‘enriched flour’ do NOT mean whole grain. Products with at least 10% of the ‘percent daily value’ are generally fiber-rich foods.
  • Eat more recipes with beans, barley, lentils, quinoa, bulgur or brown rice
  • Eat oatmeal or whole grain cereal for breakfast
  • Buy unprocessed foods, as processing often removes the fiber.

How do you sneak more fiber into your diet?


Rorie Dunphey works under Vermont’s Blueprint for Health as the RN Chronic Care Coordinator at Family Practice Associates in Cambridge. She works one-on-one with people and also leads classes to promote health and help people better manage their chronic diseases. She also assists patients in accessing community and state resources to better coordinate their health and wellness needs. Rorie has a particular passion for promoting a healthy diet and exercise routine to inspire people to live their best life.

10 Tips to Eat Healthy During Summer Travel

By: Rorie Dunphey

The weather is finally improving and it is finally beginning to feel like summer. For many of us, summer means adventures and traveling. Is it possible to eat healthy when we are on the road having fun? Yes! Here are 10 simple tips to eating healthy when away from home;

  • Consider your drink – Choose water, unsweetened tea or drinks with no added sugars. Avoid drinking calories.
  • Savor a salad – Start your meal with a salad packed with vegetables to help you feel satisfied sooner. Ask for dressing on the side and use a small amount.
  • Share a meal or dish – Divide a main entrée between family and friends. Ask for small plates for everyone at the table.
  • Select from the sides – Order a side dish or appetizer as a meal. It is usually more than enough food!
  • Pack your snacks – Pack a cooler with ready-to-eat fruit, vegetables or unsalted nuts to eat on road trips. It can help you avoid stopping for junk food when you need to stop to fill the gas tank.
  • Fill your plate with vegetables and fruits – Stir-fries, kabobs or vegetarian options can be healthy and delicious. Order meals without gravy or sauces. Select fruits for dessert.
  • Compare calories, fat and sodium – Many menus now have nutritional information. Look for items that are lower in calories, saturated fat and sodium. You can also ask your server about for healthier options.
  • Pass on the buffet – Order individual items from the menu and avoid ‘all you can eat’ buffets. Steamed, grilled or broiled dishes usually have fewer calories than fried or sautéed foods.
  • Get your whole grains – Ask for 100% whole grain bread, rolls and pasta when eating sandwiches, burgers or entrees.
  • Quit the ‘clean plate club’ – Be mindful of how full you feel and stop eating when you have had enough. Slow down and savor each bite. Pack leftovers away immediately to avoid nibbling and refrigerate them for tomorrow’s meal.

It can be often be challenging to eat balanced and nutritious foods when away from home, but with a little effort and planning, you can still have fun and be healthy. Enjoy and safe traveling!


Rorie Dunphey works under Vermont’s Blueprint for Health as the RN Chronic Care Coordinator at Family Practice Associates in Cambridge. She works one-on-one with people and also leads classes to promote health and help people better manage their chronic diseases. She also assists patients in accessing community and state resources to better coordinate their health and wellness needs. Rorie has a particular passion for promoting a healthy diet and exercise routine to inspire people to live their best life.

Stress and Your Health

By: Rorie Dunphey

I’m sure you have heard how chronic stress can be bad for your health and maybe you have thought to yourself, “I really need to reduce my stress, but how?”

There is solid evidence that chronic stress has a detrimental effect on both our physical and mental health, making stress management a vital to good health. With the frantic pace of our hyper-connected lives and the steady flow of information barraging us, it is easy to feel swept along as if someone else is in charge of your life. In addition, our culture feeds us messages that encourage constant stimulation and busyness, with leisure and relaxation judged as ‘lazy’. It may just seem easier to keep tumbling forward, never really taking the time to slow down and de-stress. We adapt by simply resetting to this low level of anxiety, which becomes our ‘new normal’.

Here are some examples of how stress affects the body;

  • Brain: Difficulty concentrating, anxiety, depression, irritability, mood, mind fog.
  • Heart and lungs: Higher cholesterol, higher blood pressure, increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • Joints and muscles: Increased inflammation, tension, aches and pains, muscle tightness.
  • Immune system: Decreased immune function, lowered immune defenses, increased risk of becoming ill, increase in recovery time.
  • Skin: Hair loss, dull or brittle hair, brittle nails, dry skin, acne, delayed tissue repair.
  • Stomach: Decreased nutrient absorption, diarrhea, constipation, indigestion, bloating, pain and discomfort.
  • Reproductive system: Decreased libido, increase in PMS symptoms.

This is certainly not a very pleasant list of symptoms. Managing stress does not mean eliminating all the causes of the stress in our lives, which is usually impossible. What it does mean is that we can learn to better respond to stress and establish healthy practices to better manage our day to day responsibilities.

Here are some simple practices that you can try:

  • Get moving: Get some exercise and fresh air daily. Take a walk, swim, dance, do yoga…Regular exercise helps us manage our mood, weight & energy level. Even a 10-minute stroll can help us feel less stressed and more grounded.
  • Spend quiet time in nature: Go to a park, the beach or into the woods; or if you can’t get there put some pictures of nature where you will see them daily.
  • Plan a weekly ‘fun’ activity: Invite a friend or family member to share in the fun and find free fun things to do around town. Host a game night!
  • Practice gratitude: Think of 3 things that you feel grateful for every day upon waking or before bed. Notice how you feel when you appreciate the good things you already have.
  • Body care: Try massage, acupuncture or a warm bath for relaxation.
  • Pray: When you feel tempted to worry about a person or situation in your life, prayer may be helpful. This does not need to be ‘religious’ prayer, but rather a way of letting go and accepting what we cannot change. Focus on having compassion for the person or problem that is the focus of our stress, rather than building up difficult emotions like anger or fear.
  • Help someone else: Volunteer, help a friend, show kindness to a stranger. Often the simple act of recognizing what we have to offer can help us feel more appreciative of what we do have.
  • Ask for help and graciously receive it: This takes courage! We all sometimes have a hard time accepting help or recognizing when we need it.  Give someone the gift of being able to help you. It usually feels good to the other person, gives us a boost and brings us a closer personal connection.
  • Do something you love that makes you happy every day: It could be something different and simple every day; read a book, talk with a good friend, cook a meal you enjoy, buy a fancy coffee, work in your garden, play a game, listen to favorite music, take a nap.
  • Honor yourself: We all have limitations and strengths. Notice what you are good at and what you like about yourself and focus on it a few minutes daily. Smile at yourself in the mirror!
  • Express yourself: Write in a journal, draw, paint, sing, or do something creative to express your feelings and get the yucky stuff out of your system.
  • Build community: Consider participating in a group that is meaningful to you, such as a church, support group, or a sports team. Spending time with people you enjoy and with whom you share values and interests helps us feel more connected and supported as we face life stressors.

While we often cannot change the cause of our stress, we can always change our reaction to it.  Managing our stress is a commitment and a choice, and is central to good health.


Rorie Dunphey works under Vermont’s Blueprint for Health as the RN Chronic Care Coordinator at Family Practice Associates in Cambridge. She works one-on-one with people and also leads classes to promote health and help people better manage their chronic diseases. She also assists patients in accessing community and state resources to better coordinate their health and wellness needs. Rorie has a particular passion for promoting a healthy diet and exercise routine to inspire people to live their best life.

Improving Heart Health, One Step at a Time

Keeping your heart healthy may seem like a big job, but even small changes in your daily habits can make a big difference. In fact, small changes are much easier to integrate into our lives than larger ones, so they’re more likely to become lasting habits.

In honor of American Heart Month, we asked our Live Well Lamoille bloggers to share one simple thing they do to keep their heart healthy. We hope this list provides inspiration for incorporating heart-healthy behaviors into your life.

Steve Ames: To be honest, I try to run up the stairs as often as possible, and skip elevators or so escalators whenever possible.

Mary L. Collins: I have begun a practice of going to sleep while listening to meditative music. It may seem an odd way to be heart healthy but for me, as I age, I find sleeping is one of the areas I can easily attenuate to be healthier.  So, I listen to music that helps me fall asleep. It softly plays on my nightstand at a very, very low volume.  I can barely hear it but it is just enough “there” so that I am soothed into sleep. Think of it as “Lullabies for Adults”.  Works for me and is completely natural.

Rebecca Copans: Each week I try to take a brisk walk on five days and go to at least one yoga or other exercise class. I find that if I set a goal of trying to eat 5 different colors of fruit and vegetables each day it helps me to eat more fresh foods.

Rorie Dunphey: I take a 30-minute walk during my lunch hour.

Caleb Magoon: I love to drink a cold beer or two once in a while. But boy those calories add up! I have a simple rule I follow: Sweat before you drink. I allow myself the indulgence, but only on days when I am sure to get a little exercise.

Todd Thomas: I religiously check my Fitbit each day to ensure that I get my steps in. I have always been told that 10,000 steps a day makes for an active and healthy lifestyle. My personal goal is to get to 14,000 steps a day. I chose to walk to and from work (and to and from the house for my lunch-break) to help meet my daily goal. If I achieve that daily goal, that gets me to 100,000 steps per week. My body always feels great when I achieve 100,000 steps weekly!

Nancy Wagner: I love to snowshoe with my dog. She’s right there waiting and ready when I get home from work. I have a headlamp and we go out back in the woods.

Michele Whitmore: I exercise regularly and play tennis three times a week. Playing tennis has many health benefits including increasing aerobic capacities. lowering resting heart rate and blood pressure. Additionally, in 2016 there was a study done involving numerous exercises and sports that increase one’s lifespan, tennis was ranked in the top two. This research report also stated that playing a racquet sport, such as tennis, was linked to a 47% reduced risk of death. (More information here.)

Valerie Valcour: I do Tai Chi for 20-30 minutes five mornings a week. It helps ground me and gets my heart rate up just enough to get going.

What is one thing YOU do to be heart healthy?  Let us know in the comments section below!

7 Tips for Healthy Eating During the Holidays

By: Rorie Dunphey

Traditionally, the holiday season is often full of rich, buttery comfort food shared with family and friends. Although it is important to celebrate and treat ourselves to the array of delicious food, it does not mean that binging on holiday favorites is the best idea. Holiday weight gain is common, but it can be minimized or avoided if you consider a few tips during the season.

Limit your indulgences, but don’t eliminate them all together: Sweet and savory treats during the holidays are abundant and inevitable. You don’t have to completely omit desserts and treats during the holidays, rather try to be selective and limit your portion size. You’ll find that even a small bite can satisfy your sweet tooth and may help stop a binge later on.

Enjoy the party fare, but don’t graze. Fill your plate with lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Once you have served yourself, move away from the buffet and enjoy the conversation! If you are the host, serve healthy options like whole grain crackers and salsa instead of chips, or fresh fruit and vegetables.

Be mindful of what you eat. Research shows we feel fuller with less food when we eat mindfully. Little unconscious nibbles throughout the day, like a piece of candy from a co-worker, a few ‘tastes’ of the cookies you baked, or those tempting food samples in the grocery store, can add up fast and prevent you from enjoying meal time. Here are tips to help you eat mindfully.

Pace yourself: When eating a meal with your family or enjoying appetizers at a party, slow down and eat consciously. Try not to race through the food on your plate. Instead, chew slowly – you’ll also be more aware when you’re feeling full.

Drink more water: Water is essential for healthy body functions, including metabolism. Dehydration negatively affects your muscle tone, slows the fat-burning process as well as inhibit digestion. Also, try to stay away from liquid calories.

Get enough sleep: Studies show that lack of sleep can cause hormonal changes, which can then lead to craving more calories per day. Although the holiday season is busy, don’t compromise your nighttime rest.

Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day: If you can’t possibly fit a longer exercise into your routine, try to split it up into shorter chunks of time. Also, mix aerobic activity with strength training and flexibility for a complete exercise routine.

Have a happy and healthy holiday season!


Rorie Dunphey works under Vermont’s Blueprint for Health as the RN Chronic Care Coordinator at Family Practice Associates in Cambridge. She works one-on-one with people and also leads classes to promote health and help people better manage their chronic diseases. She also assists patients in accessing community and state resources to better coordinate their health and wellness needs. Rorie has a particular passion for promoting a healthy diet and exercise routine to inspire people to live their best life.

6 Mindful Eating Tips

By: Rorie Dunphey

When we are mindful, we are aware of the present moment without judgment. When it comes to eating, being mindful helps us tune into our body’s cues so we can hear more clearly when we are hungry or full.  Many social and environmental factors can stand in the way of being able to listen to our bodies. Mindfulness helps us break free from long standing habits by examining thoughts and feelings that affect how, why and when we eat (or don’t eat!)

Here are some ideas to be a more mindful:

Shift out of Autopilot Eating: What did you have for breakfast? Be honest. Many people eat the same thing day in and day out. Notice whether you are stuck in any kind of rut or routine.  It can help to keep a food log to become more aware.

Take Mindful Bites: Did you ever eat an entire plate of food and not taste one single bite? Bring all your senses to the dinner table to experience each bite from start to finish. Breathe in the aroma of a fresh loaf of bread, notice the texture of yogurt on your tongue and truly taste each mouthful.

Attentive Eating: Sure, you’re busy and have a lot ‘on your plate.’  It is hard to make eating a priority rather than an option or side task. If you get the urge for a snack while doing your homework or studying, stop and take a break instead, and give eating 100% of your attention. Try to avoid multitasking while you eat. When you eat, just eat.

Mindfully Check In: Ask yourself, ‘How hungry am I on a scale of one to ten?’ Gauging your hunger level is a little like taking your temperature. Each time you eat, ask yourself, ‘Am I physically hungry? Am I eating out of habit? Am I eating because of an emotion like stress or boredom? Aim to eat until you are satisfied, leaving yourself neither stuffed nor starving.

Thinking Mindfully: Observe any critical or judging thoughts like ‘I’m so stupid, why did I eat that!’ Just because you think negative thoughts doesn’t mean you need to act on them. Negative thoughts can trigger overeating or stop you from making healthy choices. Remember: A thought is just a thought, not a fact, and you can choose how to respond to thoughts without judgment. Be kind to yourself!


Rorie Dunphey works under Vermont’s Blueprint for Health as the RN Chronic Care Coordinator at Family Practice Associates in Cambridge. She works one-on-one with people and also leads classes to promote health and help people better manage their chronic diseases. She also assists patients in accessing community and state resources to better coordinate their health and wellness needs. Rorie has a particular passion for promoting a healthy diet and exercise routine to inspire people to live their best life.

10 Tips to Stay Physically Active

By: Rorie Dunphey

Spring is a time of growth and a perfect time to start being more active. Being physically active is vital to a healthy lifestyle. Adults who are physically active are less likely to develop chronic diseases than adults who are sedentary. Research shows it can also help with depression and can increase your overall sense of well-being. Regular exercise can benefit people of all ages, shapes, sizes and abilities.

10 Tips to Stay Physically Active_Live Well Lamoille

Here are 10 tips to help you get started being more active this spring.

  1. Start activities slowly and build up over time – If you are just starting physical activity, build up slowly to prevent injury. After a few weeks, increase how often and how long you are active.
  2. Get your heart pumping – For health benefits, work up to at least 2 ½ hours of activity each week that requires moderate effort. For example, go for a brisk walk or bike ride. You can divide the time into increments of 10 minutes or more.
  3. Strength train to keep bones and muscles healthy – Do strengthening exercises 2-3 times a week. This could include lifting weights, doing push-ups and sit-ups, working with resistance bands, or even heavy gardening.
  4. Make the ACTIVE choice – Every little bit of activity can add up and doing something is better than nothing. Take the stairs, go for a 10-minute walk at lunch or park your car far away from your office, school or the store.
  5. Mix it up! There are endless ways to be active. Try out classes or activities you have never done like dancing or martial arts.
  6. Find an exercise buddy – Activities are often more enjoyable when done with friends or family. Join a walking group, attend a fitness class, play with the kids or join a gym. If you build a social network, your buddies will encourage and motivate you to stay active.
  7. Set goals and track your progress – Planning activities ahead and keeping records is a great way to reach your goals. Seeing your progress can also help you to stay motivated. Treat your exercise time like an appointment and put it on the calendar!
  8. Add on to your active time – Once you have established a routine, try to increase the time you are active or add variety. The more time you devote to being active, the better the health benefits.
  9. Increase your effort – Add more intensity once you have been moderately active for a while. Do this by turning your walk into a jog or swimming or biking faster.
  10. Have fun! Being physically active does not have to be a chore. It can help you feel better about yourself and the way you live your life. Choose activities that you enjoy and that fit your lifestyle.

Rorie Dunphey works under Vermont’s Blueprint for Health as the RN Chronic Care Coordinator at Family Practice Associates in Cambridge. She works one-on-one with people and also leads classes to promote health and help people better manage their chronic diseases. She also assists patients in accessing community and state resources to better coordinate their health and wellness needs. Rorie has a particular passion for promoting a healthy diet and exercise routine to inspire people to live their best life.

Tips for Healthy Eating During the Holidays

By: Rorie Dunphie

holiday-pies

Traditionally, the holiday season is full of rich, buttery comfort food shared with family and friends. Although it is important to celebrate and treat ourselves to an array of delicious food, it does not mean that binging on holiday favorites is the best idea. Holiday weight gain is common, but it can be minimized or avoided if you consider a few tips during the season.

1. Pace yourself: When eating a meal with your family or enjoying appetizers at a party, slow down and eat consciously. Try not to race through the food on your plate. Instead, chew slowly and enjoy the conversation around you. You’ll also be more aware of when you start feeling full.

2. Limit your indulgences, but don’t eliminate them altogether: Sweet and savory treats during the holidays are abundant and inevitable. You don’t have to completely omit desserts and treats during the holidays, rather try to be selective and limit your portion size. You’ll find that even a small bite can satisfy your sweet tooth and may help stop a binge later on.

3. Drink more water: Water is essential for healthy body functions, including metabolism. Dehydration negatively affects your muscle tone, slows the fat-burning process, and inhibits digestion. Also, try to stay away from liquid calories.

4. Get enough sleep: Studies show that lack of sleep can cause hormonal changes, which can then lead to craving more calories per day. Although the holiday season is busy, don’t compromise your nighttime rest.

5. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day: If you can’t possibly fit longer exercise into your routine, try to split it up into shorter chunks of time. Also, mix aerobic activity with strength training and flexibility for a complete exercise routine.

Have a happy and healthy holiday season!


Rorie Dunphey works under Vermont’s Blueprint for Health as the RN Chronic Care Coordinator at Family Practice Associates in Cambridge. She works one-on-one with people and also leads classes to promote health and help people better manage their chronic diseases. She also assists patients in accessing community and state resources to better coordinate their health and wellness needs. Rorie has a particular passion for promoting a healthy diet and exercise routine to inspire people to live their best life.

Is Your Health Goal a SMART Goal?

By: Rorie Dunphey

SMART Goal

Do you get overwhelmed or discouraged about changing habits? Do you wish that it was easier to lose weight, exercise more or manage your stress? Well, the first step is to to ask yourself, ‘Is my goal a SMART goal?’ SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. It is a very effective way to change behavior.

Let’s say you want to start exercising, but don’t know how to begin. You might think, ‘I want to exercise more’; since this goal cannot be measured, you will never know if you achieved it! Instead try; ‘I will walk 20 minutes, 3 days per week before dinner for 1 week’. This goal is specific in what, how much, when and how long you will do a behavior (in this case walking).

After a week of tracking yourself (writing progress down can increase motivation and help us remember what we decided to do!), set another SMART goal slightly more challenging than the first, if possible. For example; ‘I will walk for 30 minutes, 4 days per week before dinner for 2 weeks’, and so on… As these SMART goals accumulate overtime, you will see slow and steady progress toward your long term goals.

Rome was not built in a day and neither is good health. Carving up our long-term goals into achievable steps is a simple way to build success. Also, never forget the 3 P’s – Planning, Patience and Perseverance – are key ingredients!

So start today and make your next goal a SMART goal!


Rorie Dunphey works under Vermont’s Blueprint for Health as the RN Chronic Care Coordinator at Family Practice Associates in Cambridge. She works one-on-one with people and also leads classes to promote health and help people better manage their chronic diseases. She also assists patients in accessing community and state resources to better coordinate their health and wellness needs. Rorie has a particular passion for promoting a healthy diet and exercise routine to inspire people to live their best life.