Posts Tagged ‘goal setting’

We are all part of a dizzying pace that takes a high toll on our energy and our time.  Every day, we find places to go, things to do, and more tasks tYoung woman on sofa.o discover and/or uncover at work.  With increased home and work schedules, we need to set aside time for reflection.

Reflection or thinking about our experiences in life is the key to learning.  Reflection allows us to analyze our experiences, make changes based on our mistakes, keep doing what is successful, and build upon or modify past knowledge based on new knowledge.


“In solitude we give passionate attention to our lives, to our memories, to the details around us”                                                      – Virginia Woolf

Realize that you need to relax.  Many people just try to work through their stress by ignoring it and hoping the stressors pass quickly, even while stressors build up. Because of this, it’s not uncommon to be caught off-guard by stress when you reach the point of feeling overwhelmed, or to be stressed to the point that the stress is taking a toll upon your physical being.  It’s important to know when you need to relax.  Physically relaxing your body can lead to stress relief because it interrupts and reverses your stress response.


 “Take Rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.”       – Ovid

Resolve or resolution is a commitment an individual makes to one or more personal goals, projects, or the reforming of a habit; a new beginning.


“There is no scarcity of opportunity to make a living at what you love; there’s only scarcity of resolve to make it happen”. 

– Wayne Dyer

As individuals, personal growth and renewal come from examining who we are and what we value.  Renewal is a process of shedding what is no longer useful, devoting time to self-care through rest and cleansing, and ultimately emerging new and ready for more growth.


“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”     – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 As you take time to reflect, relax, resolve, and renew, here’s a short (only 128 pages) but powerful read to get you started.  “How Full is Your Bucket?” written by Tom Rath is based on the theory that life is a bucket and how happy you are determines how full your bucket is.  Happiness in life often lies in simplicity, and this clear, concise book of quotes and stories is the perfect winter-afternoon read as you embark upon the New Year.

Written by:  Cynthia R. Shuster, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA

Reviewed by:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Franklin County, Heart of Ohio EERA

Reviewed by:  Jennifer Lindimore, Ohio State University Extension Office Associate, Morgan County, Buckeye Hills EERA

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As we begin a new year, we often reflect on the past year and what we hoped to accomplish.  Perhaps we are happy with our outcomes or maybe we see areas for improvement.  Each year always brings many New Year Resolutions.  When I managed a health and wellness center at a university, our memberships soared in January.  The facility was crowded the first part of the year but by springtime it leveled out and included the regulars and a few who established the health habit of working out.Many of us start the New Year with the motivation to get healthy this year.   Did your physician make health recommendations for you?  Did they say?

  • Lose 20 Pounds!
  • Eat more Veggies and Fruits?
  • Reduce your Stress?
  • Move More and Increase your Physical Activity.
  • Reduce the Sodium in your Diet.
  • Drink more Water.
  • .     .     .

Many times we know health and wellness areas that we can improve.   One of the best things you can do to start on your road to health is to set goals using the SMART method.

Set A SMART Goal

Set A SMART Goal

How do I set a SMART goal?  Make sure your goal contains all of these components:

S              Specific

M            Measurable

A             Action-Oriented and Attainable

R             Realistic

T              Time Specific

Let’s take water for an example.  You want to drink more water and this is your first wellness goal.  One of the most important things you can do to achieve success is to write your goal down.

My Wellness Goal:   By February 1, I will drink 5 glasses of water per day at least 6 days each week.

By setting this goal, I have covered the following components:

Specific – drinking more water (5 glasses) per day for at least 6 days each week.

Measurable– I am able to count the number of glasses of water I consume.  (Keep track on a log, calendar or your phone).

Action-Oriented and Attainable– setting the goal of drinking 5 glasses of water encourages me to increase my water intake at a reasonable level.  If I decided to go from drinking 2 glasses of water to 8 glasses, it might not be as easy to attain.

Realistic setting the goal of 5 glasses of water is a reasonable goal.

Time Specific – one month to achieve this goal helps me to establish a new habit.

Don’t know where to begin?  The 2010 Dietary Guidelines set consumer messages that focus on three different areas.  Perhaps you will select one of these areas and write a SMART goal to help you make the changes.

Action Oriented Consumer Messages from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines:

Balancing Calories

  • Enjoy your food, but eat less.
  • Avoid oversized portions.

Foods to Increase

  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • Make at least half your grains whole grains.
  • Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.

Foods to Reduce

  • Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals and choose      the foods with lower numbers.
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks.

How do you get started?

Decide on your first wellness goal for the year.  Make it reasonable, specific, action oriented, time specific and measurable (SMART).  Once you’ve achieved this goal, continue this behavior and add a new goal.  Perhaps the next goal will be a little harder to achieve such as reducing stress in your life.   Look at the specific stressors in your life and explore ways to reduce stress.  How can you add balance to your life? Go through the same process and make this goal a SMART goal.  Remember that it takes time and effort to make wellness changes in your life and that every change does add up.  Here’s to your improved health!



Setting a Goal.  (2011). Retrieved December 18, 2012, from http://healthandwellness.vanderbilt.edu/news/2011/09/setting-a-goal/

Vig, T.  (2009). How to Set Achievable Wellness Goals.  Retrieved December 18, 2012, from http://www.unm.edu/~market/cgi-bin/archives/004615.html

Writer:  Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer:  Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ross County, Ohio Valley EERA, barlage.7@osu.edu

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Were you part of the 40 – 45% of Americans who made a New Year’s Resolution? If so, you probably picked one of the common resolutions – lose weight, quit smoking, save money, or get fit. The experts say that about half of those who make a resolution are successful for at least six months. The interesting thing that psychologist have found is that if we set a resolution, we are 10 times more likely to make a change than those who are trying to make a change, but haven’t declared it as a resolution. We are only a couple days into the New Year and you still have plenty of time to work on your resolution or goal so that you can find success with it. Here are a few tips to increase your chances of having a successful resolution:

  • If your resolution was to lose weight, don’t start with a goal that is overly high. Maybe you would like to lose 40 pounds, but the best way to have success is to break down your goal to smaller pieces. Start with the things that will help with that weight loss – “I’m going to work out for 30 minutes, 3 times per week” or “I’m not going to order French fries” or “I’m going to give up sweet tea”. Be sure you write down a measurable goal and keep a log or chart.
  • If your resolution was to save money or reduce your debt and you haven’t been saving at all, start small. Try a couple months of having $10 or $20 taken out of your check and directly deposited in a savings account – and don’t cut into it unless there is an emergency. (By emergency I mean, your car broke down, not the shoe store had a sale.) Then when you get a raise increase the amount or if you have an overtime check – add to it.
  • If your resolution related to getting a better job, or maybe just getting back into the workforce – put deadlines on your steps. By January 15 I will use the resources available at my local library or on the Chamber job website – for example. If you need further education to get a better job, give yourself a deadline to call the local community college or adult education program to find out what is available.
  • If you resolution was to take a special trip – start by doing research about how much it will cost, get books from the library to find out what you want to do, go online and order any free maps or brochures, and start saving a little out of each paycheck for your trip. If you get a decent income tax refund this year – save as much as you can – or use it to order your plane tickets.

If you didn’t decide on a resolution on New Year’s Day – it isn’t too late – write one down today. Focus on goals that are realistic, with measurable results that you can chip away at, and hold yourself accountable. But don’t be too quick to give up, if you have had a hard week and things didn’t go as well as you would have liked, set a small goal that you know you can succeed with for the next couple days. You may also need to change who you spend time with to succeed, we do imitate those we are around. If you want to quit smoking, but you take your breaks with a friend who smokes, it will probably be hard for you. You might need to take breaks with a co-worker who doesn’t smoke for a while. Most importantly, don’t keep your resolution to yourself; share it with someone you trust that can encourage you when you get off track.

Written by: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.


American Psychological Association, Monitor on Psychology, S. Dingfelder, Vol 35, No 1, http://www.apa.org/monitor/jan04/solutions.aspx.

University of Maryland Medical Center, Where to Begin: Expert Advice on Maintaining Resolutions, http://www.umm.edu/features/prepare.htm.

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