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Get a SMART Start on 2020 Goals

Jan 10, 2020

Get a SMART Start on 2020 Goals

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't – you're right.”

This quote by Henry Ford emphasizes how much our attitude can impact our ability to make decisions, to set goals and to ultimately see them through. Psychologists say that about 40 percent of Americans set resolutions around January 1, and only 40 to 44 percent of them will be successful at six months. Why do you suppose that is?  

It's quite easy to make a resolution....I'll lose weight....I'll exercise more....I'll quit smoking....all you have to do is say it (or think it). However, why is it so hard to see it through? Well, a lot of it can go back to attitude. Too often, we set overly ambitious goals ("I'm going to lose 20 pounds by next month"), and then when we have a slip-up (like those doughnuts in the office breakroom), we just give up.

A better approach - and one that can be as successful for your personal health goals as it is for a corporation's strategic plan - is setting SMART goals - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. 

If living at a healthier weight is your ultimate desire, take the focus off the numbers on the scale. If they don't budge, you are more likely to give up and even be talking negatively to yourself about "failing." Instead, try something like this:

I will add one fruit or vegetable to my meals each day every day for the next week.
            (specific, measurable)                 (achievable, realistic)              (timely)

Notice, this goal is set for one week. That seems a bit more achievable than saying "I'm going to do this for the rest of my life." When you take a big goal and break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces, you are more likely to see it through. Another important tool is to have a support network. Share your SMART goals with a spouse, sibling, friend or coworker so that they can help you along your journey. Chances are, they might be in need of some support for a goal they are trying to achieve. Having a support system is great for accountability, motivation and just some general cheering up on those days when we don't quite stay on track.

Whatever you want to achieve for 2020, one key tactic that is important is to PLAN AHEAD.  If you know you are going out for dinner, check out the restaurant's website ahead of time and look for healthier options. If the weather forecast doesn't look so good, plan an indoor walk at the mall or check out a workout DVD from the library. If you're trying to quit tobacco, know what situations are triggers for you and engage your friends or family to help you or call the South Dakota QuitLine for support.

Remember what Neil Armstrong said as he was the first to set foot on the moon: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

Take small steps...a day at a time...and you'll see giant leaps in your health goals for 2020.  Happy New Year!