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Posts Tagged ‘goal setting’

"If you want to reach your goals, you must shrink the size of your but." - Toby Mac #speaklife

July was a big month for me. After evaluating and reflecting on my personal wellness in a blog post in June, I decided it was time to act. Motivated in part by the meme pictured above, which I initially saw on a friend’s social media page, I knew it was time to stop making excuses for my lack of inactivity and re-invest in my personal well-being.

In June, I had identified coping with stress as a priority area for my overall wellness. I knew I needed to either resume an exercise routine (my former go-to method for coping with stress) or identify an alternative stress coping strategy. I decided to resume exercising, and I set a SMART goal for myself to re-establish a routine. 

A SMART goal is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. My goal was to attend at least one fitness class for a week for a month. This goal was:

Specific – I stated what I wanted to accomplish.

Measurable – At the end of the month, I could tell whether I had achieved my goal by looking at my fitness class attendance.

Attainable – Because I did not have a current routine when I set this goal, I started small by challenging myself to attend just one class a week.

Realistic – In setting this goal, I knew I had the time and financial resources to attend fitness classes at a convenient location for me.

Timely – My goal was for the coming month.

I am proud to say that I met my goal, and now I am working toward a new goal of attending two or more fitness classes each week this month!

Before setting and achieving this goal, I was not entirely inactive; I used resistance bands and my own body weight to do simple strength training exercises while at work, and I took walks around my neighborhood when I was able. But, according to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, while some physical activity is better than none, engaging in moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity is key to experiencing substantial health benefits.

Regular moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity:

  1. Reduces the risk of many adverse health outcomes such as coronary heart disease, stroke, certain types of cancer, diabetes, hypertension and Alzheimer’s disease; and  
  2. Promotes brain health by reducing anxiety and depression risk while improving sleep quality and overall quality of life.

The guidelines state that the benefits of physical activity generally outweigh the risk of adverse outcomes or injury. However, if you are starting a new physical activity routine, make sure to choose types of activity that are appropriate for your current fitness level, knowing that you can increase your activity over time to meet your goals. If you have a chronic condition and/or are unsure about the types and amounts of activity appropriate for you, take time to consult with a health care provider before setting a goal or beginning a routine.

Sources:

Stanford BeWell. Achieving your SMART health goal. https://bewell.stanford.edu/achieving-your-smart-health-goal/

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2018). Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition. https://health.gov/paguidelines/second-edition/pdf/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf

Written by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu

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girl doing handstand on beach with sunset/ocean in background

New Year’s Resolution Revival

Many New Year’s resolution focus on making health and lifestyle changes. Halfway through the year is a good time to check the progress of your resolutions.  After the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, many people start out highly motivated and determined that this is the year things will improve. However, within about six weeks, motivation dwindles and many fall off track. If this is where you are at, take a deep breath, and remember that is never too late to pick up where you left off and make progress again towards those goals.

My first recommendation is to think about your New Year’s resolution. What is your “why”? Your “why” is the reason you decided to set a particular health goal. Examples include lose weight, more energy, improve chronic diseases or achieve a fitness goal like running in a race or playing a sport. Write down your “why”, and then set smaller goals that will help you achieve your bigger goal. Goal setting needs to be strategic, so check your goals to see if they follow SMART goal guidelines:

  • S- Specific. Is your goal specific?
  • M- Measurable. Does your goal have objective forms of measurement to check your progress.
  • A- Achievable. Is this the right time to make changes in your life?
  • R- Realistic.  Does your goal challenge you, but not so much that you are setting yourself up for failure?
  • T- Timely. When do you plan to achieve this goal?

Next, check out who your support system is. It is important to surround yourself with people who know and support the goals you have set for yourself.

Staying motivated and committed is critical in reaching your goal. Stay motivated by reminding yourself of your “why” frequently. Place  motivational quotes on sticky notes around your home or work.  It helps to have friends or family that are willing to check in with you regarding your SMART goal’s progress , and develop a plan of action for how you will stick to your goals when you are tempted to quit.

Written by: Susan Zies, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension,Wood County,zies.1@osu.edu and Sara Turner- Smith, Bowling Green State University Dietetic Intern, Graduate Student in Food and Nutrition.

Reviewed by: Dan Remley, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, and Wellness, Ohio State University Extension

Sources:

Treber, Michelle. Using your Vacation to Jump Start your Healthy Resolutions. July 14, 2016. Live Healthy Live Well Blog at https://livehealthyosu.com/2016/07/14/use-your-vacation-to-jump-start-your-healthy-resolutions/

Mayo Clinic Staff. Weight-loss goals: Set yourself up for success. August 1, 2018 Mayo Clinic at https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/weight-loss/art-20048224

Meehan, Amy. Sticking to Your SMART fitness goals. March 27, 2018. Live Health, Live Healthy Blog at https://livehealthyosu.com/tag/smart-goals/

Lane McKenna, Achieving your SMART health goal. (n.d.) Be Well Stanford at https://bewell.stanford.edu/achieving-your-smart-health-goal/

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Do you ever feel like you have too much to do and not enough time to get it all accomplished? If that sounds like “the story of your life,” you are certainly not alone!

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to attend a training in energy management offered by my employer. At the training, I learned that the average person’s energy capacity peaks around age 25 or 30, but demands on our time increase with age. Many of those demands are due to responsibilities we choose to take on, such as raising families and taking promotions at work. However, that doesn’t lessen the squeeze we feel trying to do more in less time. While we are unable to add more hours to the day no matter how hard we work, experts suggest that managing energy rather than time can help you feel more satisfied and less stressed in your life. It may also improve your physical, mental and social health, since we tend to sacrifice sleep, relationships, exercise, healthy eating and more when we feel caught up in the demands of day-to-day life.

To begin managing and maximizing your energy, see the infographic below to learn about the four different dimensions of energy and strategies you might use for improving each of them in your own life.

The 4 Dimensions of Energy. #1 - Physical. Increase the quality of your energy by getting enough sleep (aim for 7-8 hours per night), staying active (aim for at least 150 minutes per week), and drinking water instead of sugar sweetened beverages. #2 - Emotional - Increase the quality of your energy by spending time with positive people, completing a random act of kindness, and making meaningful contributions to team efforts. #3 - Mental - Increase the focus of your energy by slowing down, taking time to breath, process and reflect, and practicing mindfulness. #4 - Spiritual - Increase the force of your energy by practicing gratitude, creating a personal mission statement, and setting boundaries in your personal and professional life.

As you review the dimensions, take inventory of whether you are engaging in energy promoting or energy depleting behaviors in each realm. To maximize energy, you need to recharge yourself every time you expend a significant amount of your energy. This means incorporating energy promoting behaviors into your routine in place of any energy depleting behaviors that you regularly engage in, despite how hard it may seem to make a change. But, rather than viewing the change as “one more thing” you have to do, try to view the change as an investment in yourself. You might ask yourself the following reflection questions to identify realistic, attainable changes you could make:

  1. Who or what is getting my energy?
  2. Is my energy flow aligned with what I want or value in life?

If the answer to the second question is “no”, it might be time to make a change in the direction of your energy flow. Your life will feel more purposeful and meaningful when your energy flow aligns with your ultimate life goals and values. Take some time today to evaluate whether you are using your energy in a way that invigorates and revitalizes your whole self.

 

Written by: Jenny Lobb, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County

 

Sources:

Schwartz, T. and McCarthy, C. (2007). Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2007/10/manage-your-energy-not-your-time

The Ohio State University College of Nursing (2018). Are You a Health Athlete or a Nurse Athlete? https://healthathlete.org/

University of Michigan, Ross School of Business (2017). Ross Professor Shares 11 Ways to Boost Your Energy and Get More Done. http://positiveorgs.bus.umich.edu/news/ross-professor-shares-11-ways-to-boost-your-energy-and-get-more-done/

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Happy BirthdayWhen it comes to birthdays, people seem to have mixed emotions.  Kids look forward to turning a year older, counting down the days until their next birthday and often saying their age with the “and a half” added to it.  Children also look forward to their milestones – becoming a teenager, turning 16, then 18, then 21 – for various reasons.  Eventually, though, the years begin to pass more quickly and the birthdays seem to just keep coming.  As adults, some of us are happy to have our birthday come around again while many would prefer not to think about it.

When a birthday arrives, it may seem like any other day; you have to keep stopping to remember that the day is extra special.  Sometimes you might forget, remembering only when someone walks by you and says “Happy Birthday!”  Because I personally am prone to this tendency, years ago I started observing the week of my birthday and celebrating all week long.  By doing so, I am not forcing myself to cram all my excitement, thoughts, and feelings into a 24-hour period in which eight hours are spent sleeping.

I like my birthday and look forward to it every year. I always have!  How about you? How do you feel about your birthday?  If you’re in the camp that doesn’t like having a birthday and turning a year older, it may be helpful to focus on your birthday as a celebration of another year of life.  The American Cancer Society once had a campaign called “More Birthdays” in which they observed and celebrated years lived well to see a world with more birthdays.

youth-570881_640Taking a positive approach to birthdays in which you express gratitude for your health and life may actually improve your overall attitude and outlook in the days to come!  My close and oldest friend (not oldest in age, but the one I have known since first grade!) and I celebrated our 40th birthdays at a “getaway spa” in another state.  Since the “big ones” get fewer as we get older, we decided to celebrate the decade ones in style, or at least in our own style.  This year my friend and I have planned another “birthday trip” to celebrate turning “50”.

A study from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology states highlighting time-based landmarks – such as birthdays – may help to motivate positive behavior change and promote success in future-oriented goals.  I started planning my “turning 50 years old” celebration when I was 47 “and a half”.  My plan was to be physically the strongest I have ever been come age 50, even stronger than when I played sports in high school.  I got myself a personal Pilate’s instructor who provided me with a mix of cardio and strength training, and thus I began my journey toward my 50th birthday.  When the day arrived, I had met my goal and made turning 50 years “old” feel like 50 years “young”.

Isn’t that the take away from birthdays – giving thanks and looking forward to celebrating our birth no matter how old we are or where we are in our life journey? Be grateful today for the chance to think about or plan another year. When your next birthday comes around, take advantage of the opportunity to hit the reset button and/or celebrate another year well lived.

Sources:

American Cancer Society (2008). Official Sponsor of Birthdays. http://relay.acsevents.org/site/PageServer?pagename=RFL_CA_Home_Birthdays

Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School. Giving Thanks Can Make You Happier. https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier

Peetz, J. & Wilson, A. E. (2013). The post-birthday world: Consequences of temporal landmarks for temporal self-appraisal and motivation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 104(2), 249-266. http://psycnet.apa.org/record/2012-27895-001

Written by: Candace J. Heer, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Morrow County, heer.7@osu.edu.

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu.

 

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Do you wonder why some people succeed or make it – either in the workplace or with sports – and others just don’t? Grit may be the answer. Grit is courage, resolve, or strength of character.

Gritty people:Words - Never Give UP

  • Finish what they start.
  • Put forth twice as much effort.
  • Are optimistic.
  • Identify and fix their mistakes.
  • Set a goal and follow through with it.
  • Practice, practice, practice!!

Psychologist Angela Duckworth who does research on “Grit” or the blend of passion and persistence has written a number of books and articles on the subject. She says you can predict success by building “Grit”. To have grit you need to stick with goals for years and live life like a marathon, not a sprint!

As parents, teachers or mentors there are a few things to help others learn about and build their “Grit”:

  • Encourage reading books where the characters had to overcome a challenge.
  • Talk about times you personally had to work hard to achieve something. Share the times you didn’t end up succeeding, but learned a valuable lesson in the process.
  • Promote moving on from failures and not focusing on excuses.

Research on gritty individual’s shows that they are more successful – they graduate from school at a higher rate and hold onto their relationships. But a negative the researchers on grit found is that sometimes people stick with goals, ideas, or relationships that should be abandoned. It is hard for them to know when to move on or cut their losses. Sometimes they hold on to these goals so long they damage relationships or even lose money.

So what should we do – work towards “Grit” or “know when to fold”? By learning to reward yourself for the pleasure of the experience of achieving the goal you are working towards, not just the final result we can make our perseverance a good thing. Break our long-term goals down into a number of steps that can be check off along the way – and then feeling success in achieving those short-term goals.

If you want to learn more about “Grit”:Woman climbing mountain

  • Watch Angela’s TED Talk on grit at http://go.osu.edu/grit.
  • Read or listen to one of the many books on grit that are available for purchase or from your library for free.
  • Search “Grit” in the Daily Good – an online portal that shares stories and quotes about goodness.
  • Check out the Bowling Green State University Counseling Center “Grit”
  • Or if you like sports I find that many of the stories on The Players’ Tribune (an online platform giving stories from athletes to us the fans) display the grit it takes for them to succeed.

I’m sure many of us have stories of the “Grit” it took us to succeed in something. I would love to hear your story or find out about the places you get your inspiration from – comment on this article to let us know what keeps you going and inspires you.

Writer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.

Reviewers: Kathy Goins, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County.

Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County.

 

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horse

If you want to learn about healthy eating, you can find mountains of information on the web, smart phone apps, at the book store, etc. The same goes for any health behavior such as physical activity, smoking cessation, or stress management. There’s a lot of good research-based information and advice and lots of bad as well. Organizations such as CDC, Land-grant universities, non-profits, have unbiased research-based information and resources.

Most of us probably know that we should be eating more fruits and vegetables, less junk food, exercising more and sleeping longer so why is it hard  to change our habits? What behavioral scientists tell us is that knowledge isn’t predictive of what we do or don’t do. Knowledge is important but there are many other factors that influence our behaviors. Personal factors such as our self-confidence or self-efficacy to undertake a behavior is critical as are the expectations or beliefs about behavior.  For example, I’m trying to eat less processed meats because they are associated with certain cancers. In addition to having this knowledge, I’m also pretty confident that I can identify processed meats and can make healthy substitutes. So why am I still eating gobs of lunchmeat, peperoni on pizza, beef jerky, hot dogs, and brats, and not to mention fast food?

In addition to personal factors, our behaviors are also influenced by our social networks, situations, environments including workplaces and communities, and ultimately policies. Regarding processed meat, it’s everywhere including stores, restaurants, and at parties. Furthermore, it’s really easy to prepare since I don’t have to cook it, or at least for very long and in many cases it’s just served to me at restaurants. So in other words, even though I have the knowledge, beliefs, and self-confidence, the cards are still stacked against me because of the situations or environments where my behavior takes place.  I should have the will power to overcome these challenges or perhaps not. Perhaps the “horse” driving my “cart” is not a very strong one. The “horse” refers to the reward expectation of the behavior. Rational humans do things and do things repeatedly because they expect to be rewarded in some way. Unfortunately, biology rewards behaviors that are detrimental over time to our well-being. Sugary fatty foods taste good, as do salty processed meats. In addition to taste, convenient behaviors are rewarding because we spend less energy and experience less discomfort.  It’s easy (rewarding) to succumb to the forces of gravity and be a couch potato, or to eat out. In order to overcome these forces, we really need to think about what we value. The reward of “doing” must be much more compelling than the reward of “not doing,” especially in context of situations and environments in which we find ourselves. Long range reward expectations regarding health behaviors are important, because they often catalyze behavior change in the first place and keep us going over time. Most people take about 6 months to form a habit and move back and forth through through “stages of change.” However, immediate reward expectations get us through tempting day to day situations. I saw my mom fight colon cancer and how terrible the surgery and treatment were. As compelling as the long range reward to avoid that, is it enough for me to buy something besides beef jerky at the convenience store when I have a salt craving? Probably not, but it will cross my mind. However, the expectation of a short-term reward that nuts will taste just as good might be what tips the scale and gets me out of the convenience store without the beef jerky in hand!

When we set out to change a behavior, we really need to take time and think about these rewards. Short and long-term reward expectations can be things that aren’t even health related but important to us in some way. Short-term reward expectations for healthy eating might include having energy, feeling satisfied with a healthier substitute, not feeling bloated, feeling strong, and alert. Long term rewards could include seeing a grandchild graduate from college, being able to go on vacations, go on long hikes, being a role model, etc. Furthermore, you might want to think even deeper or what is the “reward” behind the reward. Why would long hikes be important for example? Hikes could be spiritually rewarding  to be connected with nature.

When changing a behavior we should set S.M.A.R.T. goals– realistic, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. These should be written down. We should also write down short and long-term rewards and why they are important. They can be anything that is valued- either material (ex. a movie at the end the week if the reward is achieved) or understood (I will feel more energetic). Reflect often about rewards, and ask “what’s really driving my behaviors.” We may need to change rewards as we achieve goals or as our values change depending on our stage of life. We must really take time and think about “the horse”, because the horse is going to pull the cart through the difficult situations!

 

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Accessed at https://www.cdc.gov/

Bandura, A. (1989). Human agency in social cognitive theory. American psychologist, 44(9), 1175

Ohioline Factsheet HYG5587. Processed Meats, Red Meats and Colorectal Cancer Risk. Accessed at http://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/hyg-5587

A Healthier Michigan. (2017). How to set SMART Goals for Health. Accessed at https://www.ahealthiermichigan.org/2011/01/12/how-to-get-smart-about-goal-setting/

Prochaska, J. O., & DiClemente, C. C. (1982). Transtheoretical therapy: Toward a more integrative model of change. Psychotherapy: theory, research & practice, 19(3), 276.

 

Author: Dan Remley, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, and Wellness, O.S.U. Extension

Reviewer: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, O.S.U. Extension, Fairfield County

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Beach

It is hard to believe that we are entering the second half of 2016. Where did the time go? Were you like most of us who set a New Year’s goal or resolution?

How are you doing with that goal? Did you achieve it and move forward with your new healthy lifestyle behaviors? Did you get sidelined by events in your life?

If this new habit is part of your routine, great! If not, is it still relevant? Do you need to revise your goal? Recently I encouraged program participants to set a SMART Goal. What is a SMART goal?

One of the best things you can do to start on your road to health is to set goals using the SMART method.  Let’s start by setting a SMART Wellness Goal. Make sure your goal contains all of these components:

S                  Specific – Walk 30 minutes

M               Measurable – 6 days each week

A                Attainable and Action-Oriented – I will walk (I have no limitations)

R                 Realistic – I already walk 15 minutes 6 days of the week

T                Time Specific – By August 15, 2016

SMART Goal: By August 15, 2016, I will walk for 30 minutes at least 6 days each week.

Another Example of a SMART Goal: By August 15, 2016, I will stretch for 10 minutes at least 5 days a week.

Take a few minutes to write down Your SMART Goal: __________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________

Goal cropped 2

A great website tool to help you set nutrition and physical activity goals is SuperTracker which is available from the United States Department of Agriculture. Visit their website to get started with five simple goals. You will determine your goals and periodically receive encouragement thru your email.

Why should you consider your goals during vacation time? For many of us, vacation offers extra time to reflect on our lives and evaluate our progress. I consider my July vacation as a mid-point check-up. Are there things that I want to change to improve my health? Are there activities/projects that I want to accomplish before the year end? If so, taking a few minutes to pause and identify action steps & setting a SMART goal will help me achieve my goals.

Want a little more motivation? Check out Move it Monday for their Tip of the Week and suggestions for being more active.

Remember that even if you were derailed on your New Year’s Resolutions, it isn’t too late to start again! Write that goal and get started this vacation season!

Written by: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County, zies.1@osu.edu

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