Health Wise: Setting SMART Goals for 2022
Happy New Year! We are all hopeful that 2022 will bring new, wonderful things and that we can leave some difficulties behind. When the calendars reset, it’s a great time to think about resetting ourselves. How can we use this symbolic transition to be our best selves this year?
New Years resolutions are a well known concept - make some promises to improve upon yourself as the new year hits, and leave bad habits behind in the year prior. Sounds great, right? But the excitement of the new year’s opportunity to bring about our best selves is often rivaled by the realization that while it is a new year, our troubles remain - limited time, limited energy, difficulties with self-control, etc. Those things don’t fall away as the clock strikes 12, and they come with us and undermine our progress in the new year, regardless of how excited we are to make positive changes.
When making changes, it’s important, therefore, to be realistic. We should aim to make SMART goals, ones that are feasible, so we don’t disappoint ourselves or set ourselves up for failure. Change is wonderful, but we should not feel pressured to force ourselves to change abruptly. We must try to be kind to ourselves, even when big, bad habits need changing!
So, what exactly is a SMART goal and why should we set goals in such a way? A smart goal is a goal that is:
- Specific - what EXACTLY do you want? “To make more money” or “to lose weight” is a vague goal with no true success point! How will you know when you’ve achieved it? It’s important to create a clear image in mind, something you can picture in a detailed way.
- Measurable - how will you track your progress? Not only do you want to work toward a specific goal, but you want to notice improvements along the way, such as pounds lost, strength increased, or money in a savings account going up.
- Achievable - make your goal something you can accomplish, something healthy and possible. Start smaller, to prove to yourself you can accomplish things, rather than setting an unreachable goal and kicking yourself for failing to reach it.
- Realistic - do you have the means and the willingness to complete the goal? If not, adjust the goal. A goal should be something you have the energy and resources for.
- Time-bound - give yourself a deadline at which to evaluate success of meeting your goal. Try to set partial deadlines along the way, to check in with yourself and avoid procrastination tendencies.
Arguably the most important factor in successful goal-setting and goal completion is that you can clearly visualize your goal being achieved. Visualization is cited as a core ingredient in success, being able to see a better version of yourself or your life that is an improvement on your current situation but isn’t wildly unrealistic. In the next blog, we will talk about visualization ideas, particularly vision boards, to help you visualize your goals and motivate yourself daily to reach them!
Set some goals for yourself and remember, start small, show yourself that you can achieve the things you put your mind to! The more you achieve, the more you’ll want to keep achieving. Last but not least, don’t forget to… be kind to yourself in the process, reward yourself along the way, and celebrate when you meet your goals!