By: Rorie Dunphey
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.