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Posts Tagged ‘SMART Goals’

"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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How many of you set fitness goals for yourselves this year? I know I have. While my husband and I have made a habit out of power-lifting that we both love, cardio is not my favorite. Even though I don’t enjoy it, I know it’s important for me if I want to continue to get healthier and to get more out of my lifts. Cardio can range from walking to swimming, biking, and running. Typically, I love doing things outdoors when the weather is nice, so it’s much easier for me to find cardio activities then. It can just be extra tough this time of year to get excited about a treadmill or an elliptical when it’s so cold and dark outside, and the only acceptable option for me is to stay indoors.

Whether it’s finding a way to stay excited about and committed to your physical activity goals or looking for something completely different to try this year, there are lots of ways to keep yourself motivated and on track for the whole year. Take small steps in the gym. Try one new exercise at a time to really focus on what you like or don’t like about it. When setting goals, consider keeping them short-term; set a small weight goal for just a couple weeks down the line to help you better visualize progress, or set a goal for how many times you want to make it to the gym in the next month, giving you a more definite time frame. Having these smaller, shorter SMART goals can help to make your overall resolution feel less overwhelming and will allow you to continue to have multiple achievements throughout the year.weight-lifting-1284616_1920

As you are thinking about your SMART goals, it is important to consider exactly how you want to achieve them. The best workout for you is the workout that you are going to do. Going to a commercial gym is not a feasible option for everyone. While having a gym membership could sound appealing in theory, the time and effort required to plan for and make it to the gym may never work with your schedule. As a result, it’s important to figure out the best workout setting for you. This could be outside. Being outside is wonderful for your mental health, and soaking up the sun and hearing the birds chirp might serve as extra inspiration for your exercise, whether it be walking, running, hiking, or yoga, for example.

If exercising outside isn’t of interest to you, have you considered working out in your own home? Your home is a comfortable, familiar environment that you likely find yourself in each day, so why not use it as a safe space to try out some exercises? If you don’t have any exercise equipment at home, no worries! There are plenty of exercises and routines that can be done with either just your body weight or with everyday items you might already have in your home. Feel free to get creative and find what you enjoy. Only when you enjoy an exercise will you stick with it long-term and continue to build on that success.

My husband and I have found enjoyment in weight lifting, and we know that we will continue exercising this way for as long as we can. As for my cardio journey, I have found that tabata and interval style cardio suits me best, usually between the elliptical and rowing machines. I hope you find something that you love too and that you are able to achieve all of your fitness goals! Feel free to share your SMART goals or your favorite fitness activities with us!

Written By: Amy Meehan, MPH, Healthy People Program Specialist, The Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences

Reviewed By: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County.

Sources:

http://livesmartohio.osu.edu/mind-and-body/woods-485osu-edu/a-walk-in-the-woods-2/

http://livesmartohio.osu.edu/mind-and-body/lobb-3osu-edu/be-kind-to-yourself/

https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/6593/top-25-at-home-exercises

https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2014/12/30/373996649/why-we-sign-up-for-gym-memberships-but-don-t-go-to-the-gym

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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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ChooseMyPlate

ChooseMyPlate

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!

Sources:

www.choosemyplate.gov

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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