“SMART” goals vs. New Year’s Resolutions


Rewind back to PT school days.  It seemed like immediately documentation was being crammed into our heads, and that it never ended until graduation (and to my disliking it still haunts me every day!)  I remember having to write goals for almost every assignment that we did, for a “fake” patient in a certain situation.  I remember that if it wasn’t in the appropriate “SMART” goal form, I would get docked points and/or have to keep writing until it was right.

I’ve been thinking lately about how soon it will be time to start hearing about people’s New Year’s resolutions, and how gyms everywhere will become packed all of a sudden, only to thin back out again by around March.  When I combined this thought with thinking about the dietary changes I’ve made over the past 3 months, I had to take a break from posting recipes and get on a soap box for a moment.  Instead of making a New Year’s resolution this year, why not sit down and actually write down some “SMART” goals instead?

What I remember about “SMART” goals:  SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic or Relevant, and Time-based.  The specific part is where you think back to English class and figuring out the plot of a book.  It is the “who, what, where, when, why, how” of the goal.  Measurable is the “how much, or how many,” an objective way to know that the goal is met.  The attainable part can be tough, because sometimes you don’t know what you’re capable of, but just because you may not attain a goal in the originally scheduled time frame doesn’t mean you can’t modify the goal at a later date and/or modify your actions/lifestyle/attitude/skills, etc. to eventually attain a goal.  The person setting the goal is really the one who will know if a goal is realistic, but keep in mind that it needs to be something that you are both willing and able to do!  Finally, for the time frame, don’t think that you always have to be in a hurry to meet the goal.  I’ve had plenty that have been made for a year or longer, depending on how high my sights are set.

Now, a simple application of a New Year’s resolution turned into SMART goal.

New Year’s resolution (common ones I hear): Be more active.  Exercise more.

SMART goals (write them down to make yourself more accountable, and check progress along the way!):

1.) Go to spinning class twice per month until until at least April 2015 (when IN weather turns nicer) to better allow me to accomplish #2

2.) Be a finisher in the One Day Ride Across Michigan in  August of 2015 in less than 12 hours

For those with weight loss goals, “lose weight” will leave you with no plan and therefore most likely no success.  I found this quote and immediately loved it, as it shows my mindset on weight loss and goals related to it:

“The healthy life: it’s not just about losing the weight; it’s about losing the lifestyle and mindset that got you there.”   –Dr. Steve Maraboli

When people find out about the dietary changes I have made, one of the first few questions I get is, “What kind of diet are you on?” I am not on a diet.  To me, going on a diet means setting yourself up for failure; maybe not in the short-term, but in the long run.  I prefer to tell people that I’ve made a “lifestyle change.”  To this, people inevitably will ask, “Well when do you get to go back to eating like you used to?” Honestly, after making the changes, still being able to enjoy my food, and feeling the changes in my body  that I do, why would I go back to eating like I was before?  It’s all about changing your mindset and your lifestyle.  If you know you won’t go to the gym, why not save that money and invest in a more healthy way of eating?

Whatever your goals may be for 2015, stay committed, don’t make excuses, and don’t be afraid to reward yourself a little bit when you reach your goals.  There are a few sweet treat recipes on this blog that would fit here, but I’m not biased or anything 🙂


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