Your 2021 goals
Dr. Heather Leisy
Director of Preventive Medicine
New Year’s Eve is a time for many to make resolutions to achieve personal goals. In a survey, many of these resolutions relate to health:
- 51% want to eat healthier
- 50% want to be more active
- 42% want to lose weight
- 38% want to improve mental well-being
Achieving these resolutions offers substantial health improvements. So, what are some ways to be successful in achieving your goals? Just be SMART:
- Specific –Goals should be clearly defined. Instead of saying, “I want to lose weight” you could say, “I want to lose 5 pounds.”
- Measurable –Goals that are measurable can be counted, If you want to be more active, count the number of times you went for a walk or track your exercise time.
- Achievable –Goals should be possible to achieve. For example, setting a goal of losing 20 pounds in a week is both specific and measurable but is not realistic. A more reasonable goal would be to lose 4 pounds this month.
- Relevant –Goals should mean something to you personally. Ask yourself, “Why do I want to make this change?” and “How will this change improve my life?” Behind every resolution should exist a personal motivating factor and the confidence to achieve it.
- Time-Bound –Goals should be time-bound. Ordinarily, I encourage patients to set weekly or monthly goals. This allows for easier progress monitoring and flexibility to adjust as needed towards a larger goal.
When setting goals, plan for various hurdles or temptations to quit, and develop tools to overcome potential roadblocks. Be patient with yourself and the time it takes to change a behavior. Psychologists estimate that it takes about 10 weeks on average for a new behavior to become a habit.
Finally, do not get discouraged over any lapses in healthy behavior. Just try again. Stay attentive and motivated, and hopefully your resolution will become a healthy new habit!