Tell me more about SMARTER thinking

Do you feel like you are getting no-where or just feeling lost with no plan?
One of the best ways to re-focus yourself is to get back in touch with what you want or need to do to achieve good health. To do this, it WILL require you to plan your diet or health goals, but often we don’t. WHY? Because we make excuses which often include lack of time, lack of motivation or putting others’ needs before our own. Evidence has shown time and time again that the simple practice of writing your goals down will help you to keep focused on achieving them whilst also reducing feelings of anxiety and helplessness.

People often fall into the trap of making unrealistic goals that only last a few weeks. The way to make sure you achieve your goals but also acknowledge what you need to do to achieve them is to set goals properly.

It’s perfectly fine to have a big (long term) goal but it’s very important to break that goal down into smaller steps. Make sure your goals aren’t “pie in the sky” goals and are actually things that you will know you have achieved by following these steps:
Make your goals SMARTER

  • Specific

    Specific goals are the most motivating! ‘I want to get into shape for spring’ is too general compared to a specific goal of ‘I want work with my lifestyle team to get me in the best shape by March 30th’ for example! You may also want to add other indicators of success such as ‘to reduce my back and knee pain’.

  • Measurable

    Measureable goals are important – otherwise how do you know if you are achieving anything at all! Goals such as I want to lose 5kg in 10 weeks can help (this is the easiest example but goals do not need to be weight related). What will you need to do to measure this goal? i.e. I will keep a diary of my weight loss each week aiming for 1⁄2 kg each week. I will also make sure I record my food intake at least 3 days in the week.

  • Achievable

    Goals must be achievable and flexible otherwise you run the risk of not achieving them due to unexpected challenges that happen in life. Such as, ask yourself ‘am I able to commit to three walks of 20 minutes each time?’ ‘can I do this just after dinner each time because this is the time we are usually sitting in front of TV?’, ‘can I reduce the portions of my meals and drop snacking between meals for 5 of the 7 days?’.

  • Realistic

    Goals must be realistic for your life and your environment and also impact on what you have control over. Such as aiming to lose 1⁄2 a kg a week is realistic if you monitor what you eat/drink. Family wont be impacted upon if you set smaller goals to start with, they will adapt and probably for the best!

  • Timely

    Goals need to be time based. For example you may acknowledge that losing 5 kg is a challenging task in the next 10 weeks but it is important, as you would like to live a healthy life and feel better about yourself. Therefore acknowledging the time and challenge will stop the procrastination. Ask yourself, When can I realistically achieve these goals, are they achievable in 4 weeks or 6 months?

  • Evaluate

    Self-evaluation of yourself and your goals is important so you can make sure you don’t forget your targets and goals. Evaluation also helps you to be are aware of your barriers and successors that go towards achieving or not achieving your goals. This is your learning step, of what you can do and how you can keep going. Write down or reflect on what you achieved and what you felt you did well, but also reflect on what you didn’t achieve and why. This is the crucial step to understanding yourself so you can continue to move forward.

  • Re-evaluate

    Re-evaluation of your goals and processes is necessary and you should aim to do this every 3-4 months. If you don’t re-evaluate and re-direct yourself you can’t adjust your behaviours to reach your desired goals. Normally not doing this step can lead to relapse into old habits creeping back in so stay strong!