Last month in her blog post, If You’re S.M.A.R.T, You’ll Set Obtainable, Reasonable Health Goals, Rachel Ondrejko, fitness specialist at the Mercy Health & Fitness Center in North Canton, briefly described S.M.A.R.T. goals and introduced two new "smart" programs for people in Stark County – Fit & Healthy and balance classes.
This month, Mercy Weight Management intern Scott Jamieson continues with that theme, providing simple but effective ideas for setting health goals the S.M.A.R.T. way by making them specific, measurable, acceptable, realistic and time specific.
Each New Year, many of us flock to the gym and health clubs looking for a fresh healthy start. But statistics reveal that only 8% of people who make New Year’s resolutions actually achieve their goal. One reason for this is poor goal setting.
Check the following to see how your personal goals measure up to the S.M.A.R.T. principle.
#1 – Set a Specific Goal
By specifically targeting one area of improvement, you can focus on one piece of the puzzle necessary to accomplish your long-term goal. Instead of focusing on losing all that stubborn weight in a few months’ time, a specific goal might be to incorporate 30 minutes of physical activity 3 days a week, according to the American College of Sports Medicine recommended physical activity guidelines, to help you achieve desirable weight loss.
#2 – Make It Measurable
By recording your daily physical activity in addition to logging your daily food intake, you can help intrinsically motivate individuals to accomplish both their short term and long-term goals. Luckily, with the current trend in technology applications – such as MyFitnessPal – you can easily record and make note of your progress. Currently, MyFitnessPal is a free application offered on the marketplace for both iPhone and Android smartphone devices.
#3 – Make It Attainable
One of the most important components of the S.M.A.R.T. principle is setting an attainable goal. While we all strive to tackle our New Year’s resolution with the best of intentions, setting a goal such as attending the gym every day of the week can potentially set an individual up for failure. Therefore, it is important to set a goal that is attainable, such as training for and completing a 5k race before the end of the year instead of winning the Boston Marathon right from the get-go.
#4 – Be Realistic
There is no magic bullet or miracle cure to achieving that perfect figure we all so secretly desire. The key here is making your goal as realistic as possible. If you haven’t hit the weight room since your high school sporting days, it’s not practical to set your goal to begin lifting the weight you once could during the pinnacle of your youth. While, at any age, it is certainly possible to improve aerobic capacity and increase muscular strength and flexibility, a more realistic goal would be to establish a weekly regimen of 2-3 days of strength training covering every major muscle group as recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine.
#5 – Set a Time
When it comes to maintaining the motivation to upkeep your new exercise program, it is important to include both short term and long-term goals. Each of these goals should follow the above components of the S.M.A.R.T. principle within a specific time frame. Allowing goals to be achieved within a certain time period can help keep focus on the task at hand while simultaneously increasing motivation to achieve your specific goal. For example, an ideal short term goal might be to reduce your waist size by 3 inches in 6 weeks, whereas a long-term goal may be to reduce your body fat percentage by 5%.
Not sure where to begin? Contact us at Mercy Weight Management and let us help guide you to a new and healthier you!
Mercy intern Scott Jamieson is currently finishing his master's degree in exercise physiology at the University of Akron, where he serves as a teaching assistant for the School of Sport Science & Wellness. Scott, originally from Wilkes-Barre, Penn., obtained his undergraduate degree in exercise science in 2013 from East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania prior to moving Akron, Ohio, to begin his advanced education.