By Julie Harker Buck
Happy New Year! Whether we will pronounce the New Year “two thousand ten” or “twenty ten”, it may be resolution time again. WAIT, don’t stop reading yet. Are you among the usual Americans that set “goals” each year?
Let’s look at some statistics: Recent research shows that while 52% of participants in a resolution study were confident of success with their goals, only 12% actually achieved their goals. Men achieved their goal 22% more often when they engaged in goal setting, a system where small measurable goals are used (lose a pound a week, instead of saying "lose weight"), while women succeeded 10% more when they made their goals public and got support from their friends.(2)
What type of goals should you set? Does your list include any of the following most popular goals?
As a registered dietitian, it warms my heart to see so many popular goals related to improving health and well-being. No matter what items are on your list, here is a tip for successfully accomplishing your desired outcomes: S-M-A-R-T, which refers to Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time sensitive.
As an example, I’ll use one of mine for the New Year 2010: get fit. As I prepare to enter another decade of my life (never ask women their age...), staying ahead of the aging process by increasing flexibility, strength and endurance is vital for “successful” aging. My goals, using the SMART system, may look like this:
Specific: Pilates three times per week before work 6:30-7:00am MWF, aerobic workout two times per week at the gym T/TH 3-4pm.
Measureable: Keep a workout record and share with wellness program at work. Increase intensity/duration of workout to achieve exercise heart rate. Have blood tested for improvement in heart risk criteria.
Achievable: Schedule workouts in planner. Ask a friend to check in with my compliance. Consider body’s ability to perform scheduled workout.
Realistic: considering my past attempts (not failures, that would be never trying), I know I will work out with a video at home and at the gym after work.
Time: see “S” above plus review each quarter to check compliance and health.
Well, that is my commitment for the New Year. Why don’t you join me in increasing health, well-being and longevity by practicing S-M-A-R-T goal planning in 2010? Consider categories of goals or areas of your life that require regular effort. For example, family, work, education, religious/spiritual, etc.
As you move forward into 2010, enjoy the fresh start and different perspective a new year brings. Why not set some S-M-A-R-T goals. This year will be different. Really.
Julie Harker Buck MHE, RD, CD, LCCE
Nutrition Faculty in the Home and Family Education Department
Brigham Young University Idaho
Notes: Thanks to Collin Stewart for sharing the SMART concept.
Article written by Julie Harker Buck, MHE, RD, CD, LCCE . Registered Dietitian, Certified DONA doula, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator. Mother of six. Adjunct Faculty member in the Department for Home and Family Education at Brigham Young University- Idaho.