As the New Year begins, the air is filled with the buzz of resolutions – grand promises we make to ourselves that often fade away by February. However, a recent interview on CBC radio (Ottawa, Canada) highlighted for the listeners the importance of steering clear of lofty resolutions and, instead, opting for SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reasonable, and Time-bound.
This philosophy, advocated by the University of Ottawa professor being interviewed, suggests that setting smaller, realistic goals can lead to more significant and sustainable personal growth. In this article, we explore the merits of this approach, focusing on personal health resolutions.
THE PITFALLS OF LOFTY RESOLUTIONS
Are you setting yourself up for success or failure when it comes to establishing personal goals?
Unrealistic Expectations: Setting ambitious resolutions like losing 30 pounds in a year can be overwhelming. Unrealistic expectations often lead to frustration and abandonment of the goal.
Lack of Alignment with Lifestyle: Grandiose resolutions might not align with your daily routine, making them difficult to incorporate into your lifestyle. This misalignment can lead to burnout and discouragement.
THE SMART APPROACH TO HEALTH GOALS
Borrowing from the project management 101 handbook, SMART applies to personal goal setting!
Specific: Define your health goals clearly. Instead of a broad resolution, be specific about what you want to achieve – whether it's weight loss, improved fitness, or healthier eating habits.
Measurable: Quantify your progress. Break down your overall goal into smaller, measurable milestones. This allows you to track your achievements and stay motivated. Remember the universal principle… “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.”
Attainable: Ensure that your goals are within reach… are realistic. Setting smaller, achievable targets increases the likelihood of success and builds confidence for more significant challenges down the road.
Reasonable: Consider the feasibility of your goals. Choose objectives that are reasonable and practical, given your current lifestyle, commitments, and resources.
Time-bound: Establish a timeframe for your goals. Adding a deadline creates a sense of urgency and helps you stay focused. For instance, aim to lose 10 pounds in the first six months of the year.
THE POWER OF INCREMENTAL PROGRESS
Continuous improvement professionals appreciate the Lean "kaizen" approach of small, relatively rapid and incremental change for the better? Why wouldn't this apply to your personal goals?
Consistency over Intensity: Small, consistent efforts often yield better results than sporadic, intense bursts of activity. By focusing on gradual progress, you create sustainable habits.
Celebrate Achievements: Acknowledging and celebrating small victories boosts morale and reinforces positive behavior. This positive reinforcement contributes to long-term success.
Take Action: Setting Your SMART Health Goals
Reflect: Consider your current health status, lifestyle, and priorities. What specific aspects of your well-being would you like to improve?
Define SMART Goals: Create a list of SMART health goals tailored to your needs. Whether it's adopting a new exercise routine, incorporating more vegetables into your diet, or getting sufficient sleep, make them specific, measurable, attainable, reasonable, and time-bound.
JOIN THE RPM "IT'S WHAT YOU DO!" MOVEMENT
As a personal call to action and investment in yourself, consider signing up for a free account at RPM-Academy Online. With 846 online courses and 95 certificate programs spanning personal and professional development, it's a valuable resource to support your journey towards a healthier lifestyle, both mental and physical. Choose from hundreds of courses including;
Improving your EQ and soft skills
Career Management & Unlocking Your Potential
Well-being Essentials including Eating Healthily
Mindfulness and Relaxation through Meditation
Online Social Presence & The Right way to use Social Media
Good Money Habits and Learning to Save
Embracing Risk & Uncertainty
Mastering Happiness & Finding your Purpose and Passion
This year, let go of the traditional New Year's resolutions that often lead to disappointment. Embrace the SMART approach, focusing on realistic, achievable health goals. By making incremental progress and celebrating small victories, you pave the way for lasting change.
Remember, the journey to a healthier you starts with one small, SMART goal at a time.
Credits: Thumbnail "resolutions" cartoon by Graela. Image source https://www.flickr.com/photos/alaig/ (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 DEED)