At Yes Health, we believe that the way you go about making new health goals (New Year’s intentions, anyone?) greatly impacts your success of keeping, and ultimately, meeting them.
That’s why we encourage our members to set SMART goals, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. Why? Because they tap into your own personal motivation for change. Rather than having a coach or someone else tell you what to do, you decide what’s most important to you. And because you’re more invested in your goal, you’re more apt to follow through. The idea behind this process stems from motivational interviewing. Some common questions include:
- Why do you want to make a change?
- What are the reasons to change?
- What would some of the benefits be?
- How might you go about making a change?What would be your first step?
- What options or challenges do you see yourself having?
Starting with these questions can help you decide what area of your life to focus on. For instance, get in better shape, eat more veggies or get more sleep. Your actual SMART goal would be much more specific: take a 20-minute walk three times this week, eat one vegetable serving with dinner four times this week, go to bed by 10 p.m. five days this week.
Maybe you want to try a different healthy food every month. Or make more time to meditate. Whatever your goal is, write it down, and when you achieve it, check it off!
Try these SMART goal-setting tips from our coaches:
- Log your progress daily. This helps keep you on track and motivated to meet your goal.
- Keep it simple. Working on smaller, shorter-term goals adds up to bigger goals down the road. For example, if you want to start an exercise program, but it’s been a while since you’ve worked out, don’t attempt to go from 0 to 60. It’s not good for your body and may make you feel discouraged if you can’t sustain a certain pace.
- Stay focused on one goal at a time. Put a post-it on the fridge to remind you of your current goal and stick with it!
- Make it manageable. Choose a goal that feels possible right now and that you’re genuinely interested in achieving.
- Carve out time. Give yourself a regular time slot in your calendar to devote to achieving your goal. Avoid taking phone calls or going on your computer during that time so you won’t be distracted or tempted to cancel on yourself.
- Reevaluate your progress often. If your action plan is working, keep at it! If it’s not, try a new approach.
- Ask for support. Reach out to others, including the Yes Health coaches, to keep you focused and motivated.
Here’s a SMART goal example:
Specific: I will walk briskly for 30 minutes four times each week.
Measurable: I will log my activity each day I walk.
Attainable: I will wake up 30 minutes earlier on days I plan to walk to so I have time to do it.
Relevant: I want to have more energy and be more active for long-term health.
Timely: I will achieve this goal in eight weeks. I’ll set a reminder in my calendar to check my progress every two weeks and adjust my action plan as needed.
To set and start working towards your first goal of the New Year, use our SMART worksheet. Remember, a little planning can do a lot to support your long-term success!
Yes Health is a low-cost, weight loss and diabetes-prevention program committed to helping everyone live healthier, happier lives.