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As another new year arrives, you might think about goals you’d like to pursue in multiple realms of life—from career to health to family to education to finances. Whatever personal or professional targets you’d like to aim for this year, setting SMART goals can help you get there.
Although there are various interpretations of the SMART acronym, in general, these goals are:
•Specific – You’ve defined your objective with clear targets: amounts, dates, and confirmable accomplishments. Examples of specific goals would be to work up to 40 pushups a day by June 1, or sign up for a continuing education course by Feb. 1.
•Measurable – You’ve set targets and milestones to track your progress toward your goal.
•Attainable – Your goal is something you can realistically achieve during a given timeframe. Goals should be challenging—and represent a stretch for you—but shouldn’t be impossible.
•Relevant – A relevant goal is aligned with your life and work priorities, not with someone else’s expectations.
•Time-based – You have a specific deadline for meeting the goal. This helps you stay driven and on track.
Sometimes a goal can suddenly seem too ambitious. Try breaking your goals down into smaller, manageable parts. Then, celebrate when you achieve each short-term milestone.
If you experience doubt about your goal pursuit, confer with and get support from people you trust. This could be relatives, friends, or work mentors.
Pushing toward goals can sometimes be stressful. Be sure to make time to rest, relax and recharge so that you don’t burn out.
To set goals, first, develop an action plan and put it in writing. This helps you commit to it. And, to avoid getting overwhelmed, don’t set too many goals at once.
In addition to writing goals down, adding a visual component to your goal setting process can help you get even better results.
Start by referring to the goal list you have established for the coming year. Try to picture what each goal looks like in real life.
Create an array or display board containing images of how your goal attainment would look and feel. Find photos or illustrations, or post key words, that represent what you’re striving toward.
Here are visualization examples:
Getting a frequent visual reminder of your goals can help you nudge them toward becoming a reality!
Take walks at home and during breaks at work. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Do simple exercises while watching TV. Try different exercises like yoga, Pilates, water aerobics, biking or strength training—and make one a regular part of your schedule.
Start to replace added-sugar desserts and sweetened drinks with fresh fruit and juices. Add more vegetables, whole grains, yogurt, fish, and lean meat to your diet. Start cutting down your portion sizes. When you eat out, split your meal with a companion or take half of it home in a to-go box.
Set short-term goals: “I’ll lose 3% of my body weight by July 1” or “By Feb. 15, I’ll reduce the number of times I eat out each week from ___ to ___.” Reaching health goals depends on small choices you make throughout each day. If you slip up, make a healthier choice next time!
Webinar—On Wednesday, Jan. 11, join our webinar, Health and Wellness: Are You Ready to Make Changes in 2017?
Additional sources: American Heart Association, Stridekick.com. Goal setting for success Creating SMART goals As another new year arrives, you might think about goals you’d like to pursue in multiple realms of life—from career to health to family to education to finances. Whatever personal or professional targets you’d like to aim for this year, setting SMART goals can help you get there.
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