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SMART New Year Resolutions

a ribbon in the shape of a heartAhh!! January 1st. New Year's Resolution time!!!! The term floats around this time of year as people reevaluate many things in their lives: physical health, mental health, family and friend relationships, employment, etc.. The list is endless, pending on the person and the goal. If you find yourself with the same list of resolutions as last year, and the year before that, and the year before that and... Then maybe it wasn't that the goal is not attainable, but the goal was not defined enough to be able to create a plan to get results.

When a goal is set, it needs to be very clear and easily understood, before a plan can be created to achieve that goal. One way to look at writing goals is the SMART way. The goal has to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time based.

A Specific goal states what is to be achieved: by whom, where and when it will be achieved. To continue toward the goal, it is also important that the 'why' is established. "Why do I want to…?' Answering these four points will make a goal very specific and clear.

When a goal is Measurable, a quantity can be shown: how much, how often and how many. Being measurable applies to each small step/change/goal along the way and the end result. For example, a broad end result goal may be to lose 20 pounds, which is measurable. But, to achieve this goal, the small steps/changes/goals have to be planned and be measurable, too. Ex) drink 8 glasses a day, set a number of servings of fruits, vegetable, grains, protein, dairy, etc.. to eat each day, walk a certain mileage or time a day, and get a set number of hours of sleep each night.

Attainable means that the goal is achievable. The person setting the goal must first believe that they can reach the goal they have set. Based on that person's abilities, strengths and weaknesses, the person trying to achieve the goal must determine if the goal is possible.

The goal has to be Relevant to what the person wants to achieve, short term and long term. The goal has to be important to the individual, and not a goal of others in their life. By having a time-frame assign to the goal, motivation can be increased, knowing a deadline exists. Therefore, the goal must finally be Time-Based. Procrastination can be prevented by knowing how long to achieve the goal.

Maybe by having SMART goals, more New Year's resolutions can be achieved and finally moved off the list the following year.

Information provided by Dana H. Breeding, RN Health Educator from Community Wellness, at Augusta Health. To contact her related to the above information, please call 332-4988 or 932-4988.